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To kill a mockingbird - Book report
Transcript of To kill a mockingbird - Book report
Genre - Coming-of-age story; social drama; courtroom drama; Southern drama.
Tone - Childlike, humorous, nostalgic, innocent; as the novel progresses, increasingly dark, foreboding, and critical of society.
Tense - Past.
Author - Harper Lee. Synopsis of the book A Lawyer’s advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic novel – a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, the author explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man’s struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much.
The back cover of Harper Lee’s 50th Anniversary Edition Setting – The where and when Where (place): the action takes place in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama.
When (time): Maycomb is suffering through the Great Depression (30’s) and the story unrolls between 1933 and 1935. Major and some minor characters Jean Louise “Scout” Finch
Jeremy Atticus “Jem” Finch
Charles Baker “Dill” Harris
Arthur “Boo” Radley Narrative’s structure Major conflict
Falling action Calpurnia
Miss Maudie Atkinson
Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose
Mayella Ewell Narrator and type of narrative Type of Narrator: autodiegetic. The protagonist (Scout) narrates the story herself, looking back in retrospect an unspecified number of years after the events of the novel take place.
Point of view: first-person narrative. Scout narrates in the first person, telling what she saw, heard and thought at the time while also devoting considerable time to recounting and analyzing Jem’s thoughts and actions. Main figures of speech presented in the narrative Similes
‘She looked and smelled like a peppermint drop.’
‘She was bullet-headed with strange almond-shaped eyes,…and an Indian-bow mouth.’
‘Two geological ages later, we heard the soles of Atticus’s shoes scrape the front steps.’
‘From the day Mr. Radley took Arthur home, people say the house died.’
‘Lightning rode guarding some graves denoted dead who rested uneasily; stumps of burnedout candles stood at the heads of infant graves. It was a happy cemetery.’ Style To Kill a Mockingbird is written in modern American English, and the style is basically informal, since the narrator is a child. The author, however, does not try to keep within the limits of a child's vocabulary or powers of expression. A wide range of language is used in the novel, and in studying it the first step should be to identify the various levels of style used. This is easy, since the variations in language correspond to the divisions in social class. The African-American dialect differs from the white; the rich whites speak more grammatically than the poor whites; highly educated characters like Atticus and his brother Jack speak more elegantly than town officials like Heck Tate. Themes, Motifs and Symbols Themes
The coexistence of good and evil
The importance of moral education
The existence of social inequality Motifs
Small-town life Symbols
Appearance Vs Reality
- The fire and the mad dog (Gothic elements) build tension that subtly foreshadows Tom Robinson’s trial and tragic death;
- Burris Ewell’s appearance in school foreshadows the nastiness of Bob Ewell (his father);
- The presents Jem and Scout find in the oak tree foreshadow the eventual discovery of Boo Radley’s good-heartedness;
- Bob Ewell’s threats and suspicious behavior after the trial foreshadow his attack on the children. Timelessness Moral education, racism, inequality and loss of innocence (goodness) are all themes that continue to be relevant today. All we have to do is look around us and we can see that these things still exist. All the themes in this story are alive and well in today's world. There’s still a whole lot of changing to do! The book vs. The movie The movie’s version of the book attempts to capture the essence of the story but necessarily omits much of the detail that makes the book so charming.
Without those missing pieces in the movie, it wasn’t possible to transmit all of the emotional layers and aspects that helped us understand the events and actions that occurred throughout the book.
One positive aspect of the movie is that we are better able to create an accurate image of the time and place where the action unfolds.
One of the best performances was of the character “Atticcus” played by Gregory Peck whose performance brings his character to life very much as described in the book. About Harper Lee...(the author) Nelle Harper Lee was born on April 28, 1926, in Monroeville, Alabama, a sleepy small town similar in many ways to Maycomb, the setting of To Kill a Mockingbird. Like Atticus Finch, the father of Scout, the narrator and protagonist of To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee’s father was a lawyer. Among Lee’s childhood friends was the future novelist and essayist Truman Capote, from whom she drew inspiration for the character Dill. These personal details notwithstanding, Lee maintains that To Kill a Mockingbird was intended to portray not her own childhood home but rather a nonspecific Southern town.
This book defined her writing style. A style based on the Southern gothic that is characterized by sinister scenarios that describe scenarios including themes of poverty, racism, crime and violence. The book’s impact in the 20th century To Kill a Mockingbird was published in the racially charged atmosphere of the early 1960s, the book became an enormous popular success, winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and selling over fifteen million copies.
Harper Lee’s only novel touched a nerve during a time of change in America and continues to be beloved by millions of readers worldwide for its appealing depiction of childhood innocence, its scathing moral condemnation of racial prejudice, and its affirmation that human goodness can withstand the assault of evil. Conclusion: our opinion In our opinion Harper Lee captured a slice of small town american life that will endure in the pantheon of literature irrespective of time or place.
The heroes, villains and bystanders that emerge from the pages of To Kill a Mockingbird possess the humanity – good, evil and indifferent that populate and drive all truly great stories.