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Copy of Introduction: To Kill a Mockingbird

LA 101

holli ferguson

on 31 January 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Introduction: To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird (cc) photo by theaucitron on Flickr (cc) photo by theaucitron on Flickr Author Background:
Harper Lee The Great Depression Overspending in the 1920s
Stock Market crash of 1929
World War II The people in Alabama suffered because of America’s economy. Racial Segregation January 1, 1863: Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared freedom for all slaves.
Intended to weaken the South’s power during the U.S. Civil War
Although slaves were “free,” black people were affected by state laws that prevented equality
These laws were known as the Jim Crow Laws Harper Lee Born Nelle Harper Lee, April 28, 1926
Grew up during the Great Depression
Grew up in Monroeville, Alabama, in the heart of the South, where racial tension was high
Dad was a lawyer
Mother’s maiden name was Finch Plessy vs. Ferguson Strengthened the already popular Jim Crow Laws
In 1892, 30-year-old Homer Plessy was jailed for sitting in a “white” section of a railroad car
Plessy was 1/8th black, but under Louisiana law, he was considered “colored” and was supposed to ride in the “colored car.”
Plessy argued that his arrest was a violation of the Constitution
Ferguson, the judge, found Plessy GUILTY of refusing the leave the “white car.” Plessy vs. Ferguson After an appeal, the case went to the Supreme Court, which upheld the decision and perpetuated the concept of “separate but equal.”
This enabled schools, courthouses, libraries, hotels, theaters, restaurants, public transportation, etc., to segregate “coloreds” from “whites.” etiquette Blacks were expected to refer to whites with titles of superiority like BOSS, SIR, CAPTIAN, MISS, or MRS.
Whites referred to blacks using derogatory terms like BOY, LADY, GIRL and the N word.
Blacks were expected to let whites walk of the sidewalk and signs reading things like “Negroes and Dogs Not Allowed” were common The Scottsboro Trials In 1931, a fight between white and black teen boys occurred on a train between Tennessee and Alabama.
Two girls on a train, one well-known prostitute and one minor, were accused of violating the Mann Act (crossing state lines for prostitution).
They immediately accused all nine black men of rape. The Scottsboro Trials Eight of the nine boys were sentenced to death despite the fact that they were not even all in the same rail car.
Appeals continued for years and only two were acquitted. Jim Crow South Racial caste system primarily in the south between 1877-1960s.
Anti-black laws
Under these laws, African Americans were treated as second class citizens
Thought was that whites were superior to blacks in intelligence, morality, civilized behavior, etc. Jim Crow South Black male could not offer his hand to a white lady or man
Blacks and whites could not eat together
Black male could not offer to light a white female’s cigarette
Could not show public affection
Sat in back of car
White motorists had right-of-way at all intersections
Never assert a white person is lying Jim Crow South Never demonstrate superior intelligence
Never suggest white person is from an inferior class
Never curse a white person
Never comment upon the appearance of a white female
Excluded from public transport, jobs, juries, neighborhoods, schools, churches, bathrooms, beaches,
Louisiana passed “Separate Car Law” (equal but separate cars)
Signs above water fountains, theatres, bathrooms, schools, churches
Older, less-well-kept Literary Focus


Setting (PLACE) 1960

Social Protest; courtroom drama

Maycomb, Alabama
Slow and old-fashioned; slightly backwards; still has very strong racist elements Literary Focus
Setting (TIME)

Point of View
Maycomb, Alabama
Great Depression

Scout Finch’s 1st Person Point of View
Overview Scout Finch opens the novel as an adult woman reflecting back on key events in her childhood.
The novel covers a two-year period during Scout’s youth and focuses on her maturation from an innocent child to someone who witnesses both the good and evil of man’s nature
She lives with her father, Atticus, a widowed lawyer, and her older brother, Jem Overview
Part I: The Reclusive Boo Radley

Part II: The Trial of Tom Robinson The novel is divided into two primary sections:
Part I: The focus is on the Scout and Jem’s fascination with a reclusive neighbor named Boo Radley. Themes and Conflicts Racism
Unfair Judgment
Social Structures
Sympathy and Understanding
Moral Nature of Man
Childhood Innocence
Human Capacity for Goodness versus Human Capacity for Evil
Moral Education versus Academic Education Literary Focus
Mockingbirds Symbolize the innocence and kind nature of many individuals
“Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but…sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
A large majority of the novel focuses on the sin of injuring those individuals who are innocent and “mockingbirds.”
Some of these “mockingbirds” include both Boo Radley and Tom Robinson Characters
Scout Finch Narrator and protagonist
Intelligent and tough; tomboy
Loses some of her innocence throughout the novel and sees that all men are not necessarily good Atticus Finch Scout and Jem’s father
Respected lawyer, who has a strong beliefs connect to morality and justice Jem Finch Scout’s brother
4 years older than Scout and grows away from her imaginative games as the novel progresses
Guards Scout and is protective of her Dill Harris Loosely based on the famous writer Truman Capote
Summer friend to Jem and Scout
Confident and imaginative Boo (Arthur) Radley Reclusive neighbor of Jem and Scout
Product of an abusive childhood and family Tom Robinson A black man on trial Other Characters Calpurnia: Finch’s cook
Nathan Radley- Boo’s (Arthur’s) brother
Mr. Radley- Father of Nathan and (Arthur) Boo
Miss Maudie Atkinson: Neighbor of the Finch family
Stephanie Crawford: Neighborhood gossiper Other Characters Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose: Elderly woman is mean to the Finch children
Aunt Alexandra: Moves in to help train Scout
Bob Ewell: Poor abusive father.
Mayella Ewell: Daughter of Bob Ewell Read Chapter One Part II: The focus is on the trial of Tom Robinson. After war, population explosion = need of more food . . . Farmers not ready for this

After analyzing stocks they think it will continue to increase in value but they are wrong

* Immediate cause of Depression was collapse of American economy France and Britain won WWI – demand payment from Germany

U.S. feels bad for Germany so they lend them money

In addition, companies all around the world are producing more goods than are being sold … people aren’t increasing their spending Causes Thursday October 24th – stock market dips slightly – people begin to sell stock to cover losses – leads to total collapse on Tuesday (Black Tuesday)

American banks call in their short terms loans to Germany. Businesses continued to close and sell assets to meet their loan payments

This led to extreme unemployment. 15 million unemployed / 1 in 4 could not find work

Economy fell by 42%

Shantytowns were created

Fifty percent of the children in the United States did not have "adequate food, shelter, clothing, or medical care."

People who did have jobs made barely enough to survive. Hired farm hands only made $216.00 a year.  A doctor made $3,382.99 a year. American Economy Effects of Depression
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