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"To Kill a Mockingbird" Introduction

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Abraham Miranda

on 4 October 2013

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Transcript of "To Kill a Mockingbird" Introduction

The student will learn...
* biographical information about the author
* similarities between the author's life and the novel
* about the story's setting
* the historical context of the story
* the story's the point of view and narrator
* the author's tone
* the novel's motifs
* the various forms of language used by the main characters
....by writing framed notes and reading and discussing a passage from
the story
Harper Lee:
Biographical Information
* Early 1950s
* Studied law
* Airline hostess
* Began writing
Harper Lee:
Biographical Information (Continued)
* Age 87
* Resides in New York
* Private person
* Rarely makes public appearances or does interviews
* In 1961, won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction
The Novel
* Written in 2.5 years
* Instant hit
* Best seller for 1.5 years
* Made into an academy award winning movie
* Sold over 30 million copies and translated into over 40 languages
Similarities between Author and Novel
* Towns
* Monroeville and Maycomb are similar in size and layout
* Fathers
* Both lawyers
* Lee's mother's maiden name was Finch, Finch is the last name of the story's family
* Both had genuine humility and natural dignity
* Time Frame
* When Lee wrote the Novel, she was the same age as Scout when telling the story in the novel
* Maycomb, Alabama (fictional city)
* During the Great Depression (1930s)
* Although slavery had been abolished, Southerners in Maycomb continue to believe in white supremacy
Life in the 1930s
The Scottsboro Boys
* Nine black teenagers are falsely charged with raping two women in Scottsboro, Alabama; eight are convicted and sentenced to death
* The U.S. Surpeme Court reverses their convictions because their constitutional rights had been violated
* The boys are tried again and found guilty
* The surpreme court reserves their convictions again
* Eventually, four of the defendants are freed; the other five serve prison terms
* The last Scottsboro defendant was paroled in 1950
* It was virtually impossible for a black person to receive a fair trail

The Great Depression
* The Great Depression sweeps the nation
* Many families don't have money for basic needs such as food clothing and shelter
* The per capita income for families in Alabama was $125-$250 per year
* Many southern blacks pick cotton for a living
* Franklin D. Roosevelt was president

Legal Segregation in
Alabama, 1923-1940
* No white females in hospitals treated black men
* Separate passenger cars for white and blacks
* Separate waiting rooms for whites and blacks
* Separation of white and black convicts
* Separate schools
* No interracial marriages
* Segregated water fountains
* Segregated theaters
Point of View
1st Person
* Told by someone in the story. The “I” person is the narrator also. Everything is told from one perspective.
2nd Person
* Told from the you perspective. Very rarely used and a difficult form to write in.
3rd Person Omniscient
* Told by an outside narrator. This narrator is all knowing and sees everything. Knows the thoughts and actions of all the characters.
3rd Person Limited
* Told by an outside narrator. This narrator only knows the thoughts and actions of one of the characters.
3rd Person Limited
* Told by an outside narrator. This narrator only knows the actions of the characters.
Point of View
To Kill a Mockingbird
* In this novel, the story is told from Scout’s point of view (1st person).
* The novel is primarily told by the child, Scout, but the narrator also uses the fact that it has been years since the event to fill in other details (showing maturity).
Jean Louise Finch "Scout"
* The story’s narrator
* Although now an adult, Scout looks back at her childhood and tells of the momentous events and influential people of those years
* Scout is six when the story begins
* She is naturally curious about life
Racial Prejudice
Social Snobbery
The Need for Compassion
The Need for Conscience
Humorous (at times)
Sometimes the language of Scout will be that of her as a child; other times, she will be speaking in the voice of an adult
Atticus uses formal speech
Calpurnia uses “white language” in the Finch house and switches to “black jargon” when amidst blacks
The Ewells use foul words and obscenities
Jem, Scout, and Dill will use slang words, typical of their age
Tom Robinson uses language typical of the southern black such as “suh” for “sir” and “chillun” for “children”
Various derogatory terms for blacks will be used such as “nigger,” “darky,” “Negroes,” and “colored folk”– Lee uses such language to keep her novel naturally in sync with common language of the times
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