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To Kill a Mockingbird
Transcript of To Kill a Mockingbird
characters & themes. Characters we should
look out for Themes of the novel Good, evil & dignity Prejudice Courage Arthur Radley - Boo Jeremy Atticus Finch - Jem Atticus Finch Jean Louise Finch - Scout Harper Lee Publication details Historical context Key things to know Born in 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama where racial tensions were high.
Youngest of four & a tomboy
Was educated at the University of Alabama & was editor of the schools humorous magazine.
Had to give up editing due to the demands of her law degree.
Eventually dropped out of law to move to New York and pursue writing.
To Kill a Mockingbird was released in 1960.
Great friends with Truman Capote, who was the inspiration for Dill. The novel is semi-autobiographical and Lee has always said that she borrowed ideas and scenarios that happened in the town in which she grew up.
Set in the 1930s, the novel takes place over the years of the Great Depression when racial tensions were high and the south of America was steeped in prejudice.
In 1931, the Scottsboro Trials happened, in which five out of nine men were convicted of the rape of two white women despite a lack of evidence and one woman changing her testimony. Scout is our narrator and the youngest member of the Finch family.
She is a tomboy & looks up to her older brother, although is bothered by his increasing 'teenageness' and growing-up.
She is mature in many respects, intelligent & loves to read but she is also headstrong & outspoken.
Throughout the novel, Scout's innocence is gradually diminished as she sees just how awful people can be due to Tom Robinson's trial.
She has a wonderful relationship with her father but is also influenced by the black cook, Calpurnia. Four years older than Scout, Jem is more switched on to the world around him than Scout.
He is an intelligent & adventurous child.
He grows up significantly in the novel & becomes a strong, serious, idealistic & sensitive young man. This growth initially frustrates Scout.
He has a strong sense of justice & the trial of Tom Robinson affects him significantly.
He admires Atticus & his moral character. The widowed father to Scout & Jem. Atticus connects with his children through reading & sharing experiences. He tried to instil a sense of moral justice in his children & to try & see the world through others' eyes. He is a lawyer & works very long hours.
He defends a black man, Tom Robinson, against the accusation of rape brought by the Ewell family & polarises his neighbours.
Atticus shows his bravery before, during & after his defence of Tom & is considered one of the great father figures in American literature. A recluse with a reputation of almost mythical proportions. He is a figure of terror & fascination for the Finch children.
Initially seen as a monster who stabbed his father, eats cats & haunts the neighbours at night, he is actually a kind, shy, innocent & gentle man.
Boo reaches out to the Finch children in unique ways & is ultimately their protector.
He is one of the characters referred to by the title, 'To Kill a Mockingbird'. "Inside the house lived a malevolent phantom... Once the town was terrorised by a series of morbid nocturnal events ... the culprit was Crazy Addie ... people still looked at the Radley place, unwilling to disregard their initial suspicions." (Ch. 1, Pg. 9)
"You ain't got no business bringin' white chillun here - they got their church, we got our'n." (Lula. Ch.12, Pg. 131)
"My folks said your daddy was a disgrace an' that nigger oughta hang from the water-tank!" (Cecil Jacobs. Ch. 9, Pg. 85)
"'You know what we want,' another man said. 'Get aside from the door Mr Finch.'" (Ch. 15, Pg. 167)
"They don't belong anywhere. Coloured folks won't have 'em because they're half white; white folks won't have 'em cause they're coloured, so they're just in-betweens, don't belong anywhere." (Jem. Ch. 16, Pg. 177) "It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what". (Atticus. Ch. 11, Pg. 124)
"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand." (Atticus about Mrs Dubose. Ch. 11, Pg. 124)
"'Atticus, are we going to win it?'
'No, honey.' ...
'Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win.'" (Atticus about Tom Robinson. Ch. 9, Pg. 84) Where written: New York City & Monroeville, Alabama
When written: 1950-1960
Literary period: Modernism
Literary category: Southern literature; it deals explicitly and implicity with themes & issues that are uniquely Southern. Who else? Calpurnia: The black cook who works for the Finches. She basically raised Jem & Scout. Atticus & the children consider her family.
Dill: A friend to the children, Dill is only around in summer. It is his idea to begin pursuing Boo. He is immensely bright & uses his imagination to hide his loneliness & feelings of rejection by his Mother. Tom Robinson: A black man accused of raping a white woman.
Bob Ewell: A particularly vicious poor white man. The accuser of Tom. He buys alcohol while his children are starving.
Mayella Ewell: Lonely, friendless & the only woman in her family. She accuses Tom Robinson of raping her.
Miss Maudie Atkinson: Friend & neighbour to Atticus & the children. Strong sense of moral character. Who else cont'd "Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." "Did it ever strike you that Judge Taylor naming Atticus to defend that boy was no accident? ... Atticus Finch won't win, he can't win, but he's the only man in these parts who can keep a jury out so long in a case like that. And I thought to myself, well, we're making a step - it's just a baby step, but it's a step." (Miss Maudie. Ch. 22, Pg. 238
"Sometimes, the bible in the hand on one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of - oh, of your father." (Miss Maudie on Nathan Radley. Ch. 5, Pg. 33)
"'He was out of his mind', said Atticus.
'Don't like to contradict you, Mr Finch - wasn't crazy, mean as hell. Low-down skunk with enough liquor in him to make him brave enough to kill children'". (Heck Tate. Ch.29, Pg. 296) Growing Up Small town Southern life "When we slowed to a walk at the edge of the school yard, Jem was careful to explain that during school hours I was not to bother him." (Ch. 2, Pg. 17)
"You'll never understand a person until you ... climb into his skin and walk around in it." (Atticus. Ch. 3, Pg. 33)
"Atticus had promised he'd wear me out if he ever heard of me fighting any more; I was far too old and too big for such childish things." (Scout. Ch. 9, Pg. 82)
"'You want to grow up to be a lady, don't you?'
I said not particularly." (Scout & Uncle Jack. Ch. 9, Pg. 88)
"'Reckon he's got a tapeworm?' Atticus said no, Jem was growing. I must be patient with him and disturb him as little as possible." (Ch. 12, Pg. 127) "Being Southerners, it was a source of shame to some ... that we had no recorded ancestors on either side of the Battle of Hastings." (Ch. 1, Pg. 3)
"Reason I can't pass the first grade, Mr Finch, is I've had to stay out ever' spring an' help Papa with the choppin'." (Walter Cunningham. Ch. 3, Pg. 26)
"'Besides,' Atticus was saying, 'you're not scared of that crowd, are you?'
'...know how they do when they get shinnied up.'" (Atticus re the lynch mob. Ch. 15, Pg. 160)