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To Kill A Mockingbird

An Introduction to the Text

A Gib

on 19 February 2013

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Transcript of To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill A Mockingbird An Introduction Perceptions to Race Victimised Characters Scout and Jem Finch Calpernia "A Malevolent Phantom" Bob Ewell Plot Summary The Mockingbird The Author An American Classic "Mocking birds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy... That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird" Harper Lee's one and only novel, written in 1961, went on to win the Pulitzer Prize Award. It can be said to depict her experiences of life within the deep South in the '30s, as she grew up in Monroeville, Alabama. Set in the 1930s, this classic American novel relates the story of Atticus Finch and his family through his struggle and fight for justice.

In a town full of rumours and racism and a fear of the unknown, the mysterious Boo Radley becomes the focus of Jem, Scout, and Dill's attention paralleled with the story of a lawyer in the South fighting for the freedom of a black workman, Tom Robinson, who is (falsely) accused of raping a white girl named Mayella Ewell.
The novel ends neatly, yet death seems to undermine a true sense of justice. "As you grow older, you'll see white men cheat black men everyday of your life, but let me tell you something and don't forget it- whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash." Jem to Calpurnia: "why do you talk nigger talk to the- to your folk's when you know it's not right?"

Scout: "I think there is just one kind of folks. Folks."
-Scout shows an immature yet simple level of understanding, disregarding society's general prejudices. Has two separate lives - one in a black, one in a white community.
Shows a sense of self worth and regards her morals over others.
Gives the Finch children a good set of morals and does not brings them up begrudgingly. "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... until you climb into his skin and walk around in it" (p.33) Childhood Childhood is a key theme in TKAM:
loss of innocence
misunderstanding (from adults and children)
readers have authority over Scout, yet rely on her
Readers see events unfold through the eyes of a child.
- Unreliable narrator?
- Why pick a young child to relate the tale? Metaphor/Symbol
Victimisation of innocent ones
Injustice Society in the 1930s Key Themes Influence He is portrayed as an ignorant, arrogant, severely rascist white man; considered to be 'white trash'. Atticus Finch is he "the most enduring fictional character of racial heroism"? Narration The novel looks back upon past events: "When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back at them, we sometimes discussed the events leading to [Jem's] accident."

Narrative voice:
Scout Finch- child narrator- sense of naivety despite high level of intelligence for her age. (5 when the story begins, 8 when it ends!) Narrative structure: Part 1: focuses mainly on the children and their fascination with the mysterious Boo Radley. Part 2: Focuses more on the case of Tom Robinson and the adult world of prejudice and justice. Prejudice and Injustice: The importance of moral education.

Atticus to Scout: "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."

"As Judge Taylor banged his gavel, Mr.Ewell was sitting smugly in the witness chair."

Atticus: "I'm no idealist to believe firmly in the integrity of our courts and in the jury system." Atticus: "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. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what."

"By observing her father, Scout gradually discovers that moral courage is both more complicated and more enact than the physical courage most familiar and understandable to children." (edsitement.net.gov) Courage The Great Depression 'Maycomb county had been recently told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself' Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt 1933-1945 Ghandi Hitler Mao Unemployment inc. 25% Roosevelt's racially unbiased administration alienated Southerners Strong racial prejudice in Southern States Turbulent time in terms of struggles between world powers, racial prejudice, and the Depression: Book set between 1933-4 "I have seen that black nigger yonder ruttin' on my Mayella!" Calpurnia to Jem: "Suppose you and Scout talked coloured-folks' talk at home it'd be out of place, wouldn't it? Now what if I talked white folks' talk at church, and with my neighbours? They'd think I was puttin' on airs to beat Moses." Lula: "I wants to know why you bringin' white chillun to nigger church." He is tolerant, fair, reasonable, trusting and considerate of others and a good father. Rumours as to whether Lee actually wrote the novel, Truman Capote, a close childhood friend, is the alleged writer, stating on the back of one edition: "Someone rare has written this very fine novel, a writer with the liveliest sense of life and the warmest, most authentic sense of humour. A touching book; and so funny, so likeable." Heroes and Villains Characters within Maycomb symbolise the existence of both good and evil in the world. They also become physical representations of broader themes and issues that run through the novel e.g. social class. "Maycomb's usual disease..." "When people's azaleas froze in a cold snap, it was because he had breathed on them." 'A baseball hit into the Radley yard was a lost ball and no questions asked.' "To Kill a Mockingbird has enshrined for generations an ideal of American decency and conduct" First Lady Laura Bush Since 1960, it seems impossible that a student in America could not go through their school life without studying this novel. "To Kill a Mockingbird beats Bible in book poll" - The Telegraph, 2009
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