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The World of the Writer: Harper Lee

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Mario Buni

on 4 April 2014

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Transcript of The World of the Writer: Harper Lee

Harper Lee
Born April 28th 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama
born April 28th 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama
descendent of Civil War General Robert E. Lee
like her father, Lee studied law at the University of Alabama from 1945-1949
went to New York to pursue writing career; reunited with childhood friend Truman Capote, and befriended Broadway composer Michael Martin Brown
Movie Comparison: Capote
In the movie it is evident that Lee is a victim of serious prejudice from her writing colleagues
She was ridiculed simply for being a woman in the writing field
Throughout the movie you can see that there were constant snide and snobby remarks directed towards her
In reality, since Harper Lee was a female writer, she experienced discrimination in her career because women were still struggling to receive equal rights
Born Nelle Harper Lee, she used her middle and last name instead in order to get her work published
Attitude Towards Writing
In 1956 Lee receives Christmas present from the Browns; they would support for her a year so she could write her most famous work, "To Kill A Mockingbird"
When she finished the final draft, she traveled with Capote to Kansas to help with his book "In Cold Blood"
In 1960 "To Kill A Mockingbird" was published and was an overnight success
In 1961 Lee won the Pulitzer Prize in literature for her book
"To Kill A Mockingbird" is the only book written by Harper Lee
The World of the Writer: Harper Lee
Lee had a dream, and let nothing stop her in achieving it; persevered against discrimination in order to achieve success in doing what she loved.
By: Amanda, Julie and Chris
This quotation is basically Lee's main philosophy towards writing. Having a "thick hide" means that you are not sensitive towards other people's opinions about you and in general. What Lee is saying in this quotation is that if you want to be a writer, before you pursue this dream you must be able to handle criticism well and not be upset when other people have negative opinions about you, which is exactly what she did.
Movie Comparison: Capote
As Harper Lee's character in the movie is a secondary character there is not much to contrast of her life
The main and most evident similarity besides the fact that she was discriminated against for being a female writer was her strong friendship with Truman Capote
Capote and Lee were partner's in the movie much like they were in real life
Friendship with Truman Capote
Capote based the character of Idabel in Other Voices, Other Rooms on his Monroeville neighbor and best friend, Harper Lee,
Capote inspired the character, Dill Harris in Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" Capote once acknowledged this: "Mr. and Mrs. Lee, Harper Lee's mother and father, lived very near. She was my best friend. Did you ever read her book, To Kill a Mockingbird? I'm a character in that book, which takes place in the same small town in Alabama where we lived. Her father was a lawyer, and she and I used to go to trials all the time as children. We went to the trials instead of going to the movies."
Lee was his crucial research partner for In Cold Blood.
“They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions... but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.”
- Harper Lee
This is another quotation that was said by Harper Lee that discusses that she doesn't care what anyone else thinks and as long as she's doing what makes her happy she's happy and it doesn't matter whether people like it or not.
You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.
-Harper Lee

This quote was said by Harper Lee during the time when she published her book To Kill a Mocking Bird. It relates to her book because her whole book is about discrimination and how unfair it is to judge someone based on their background or ethnicity. It expands on the fact that everyone's different and that we all encounter different things, so we shouldn't be quick to judge or assume things on the base of someone's appearance.

"What was the evidence of her offense? Tom Robinson, a human being. She [Mayella Ewell] must put Tom Robinson away from her. Tom Robinson was her daily reminder of what she did. What did she do? She tempted a N _ gro. She was white, and she tempted a N _ gro. She did something that in our society is unspeakable: she kissed a b_lack man. Not an old Uncle, but a strong young N _ gro man. No code mattered to her before she broke it, but it came crashing down on her afterwards. .... And so a quiet, respectable, humble N _ gro who had the unmitigated temerity to 'feel sorry' for a white woman has had to put his word against two white people’s... the state, with the exception of the sheriff of Maycomb County, have presented themselves to you gentlemen, to this court, in the cynical confidence that their testimony would not be doubted, confident that you gentlemen would go along with them on the assumption—the evil assumption—that all N _ groes lie, that all N _ groes are basically immoral beings, that all N _ gro men are not to be trusted around our women, an assumption one associates with minds of their caliber.

Which, gentlemen, we know is in itself a lie as b_lack as Tom Robinson’s skin, a lie I do not have to point out to you. You know the truth, and the truth is this: some N _ groes lie, some N _ groes are immoral, some N_ gro men are not to be trusted around women—black or white. But this is a truth that applies to the human race and to no particular race of men. There is not a person in this courtroom who has never told a lie, who has never done an immoral thing, and there is no man living who has never looked upon a woman without desire."

This is from Atticus's closing statement to the jury that will judge Tom Robinson. Atticus is fighting for Tom Robinson and against racism. (Chapter 20- To kill a mocking bird)

Excerpt From "To Kill a Mockingbird"
Author Harper Lee drew on her own childhood experience for the events of To Kill a Mockingbird. There were similarities between Scout and Lee herself—and between Scout's friend Dill and Lee's own childhood friend, Truman Capote. Like Scout, Lee's father was an attorney who defended black men accused of crimes; like Scout, Lee had a brother four years older.
The character of Boo Radley is based on a person Lee and her friend Capote knew when they were young. Capote said “he was a real man, and he lived just down the road from us. We used to go and get those things out of the trees. Everything [Lee] wrote about it is absolutely true.”
The social background of To Kill a Mockingbird is based on Lee's experience of racism in the 1930s. She wrote the novel in the 1950s, when the Civil Rights Movement was active.
Tom Robinson's trial was partly inspired by the controversial Scottsboro Trials, when nine young African-American men were accused of rape by two poor white prostitutes, one of them underage. Further inspiration was provided by a number of cases in which Lee's father participated.

To Kill a Mockingbird
Relation to Lee's Life
Full transcript