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To Kill a Mockingbird


  • pg 1
									To Kill a Mockingbird

     By Harper Lee
• Wrote To Kill a
  Mockingbird in
• Based the story on
  her life growing
  up in Monroeville,
• TKAM was the
  only novel she
  ever wrote

        • Southern United States
          Maycomb, Alabama (fictional name)
        • 1930’s
          Great Depression
          Dust bowl
          Prejudice and legal segregation
Major Historical Happenings...
• Recovering
  from the Great
• Poor South
• Jim Crow Laws
• Racial Injustice
• Scottsboro
    1930’s - Great Depression began
    when the stock market crashed in
            October, 1929
• Businesses failed,
  factories closed
     – People were out of work
     – Even people with money
       suffered because nothing
       was being produced for
•    Poor people lost their
    homes, were forced to
    “live off the land.”
• Farmers were already feeling
  the effects
   – Prices of crops went down
   – Many farms foreclosed
• People could not afford
   – Factories shut down
   – Businesses went out
• Banks could not pay out
• People could not pay their
  taxes                          Many found being broke
   – Schools shut down due to         humiliating.
      lack of funds
• Many families became
  homeless and had to live in
              “White trash”
• Poor, uneducated white people who lived on
  “relief “
  – lowest social class, even below the poor blacks
  – prejudiced against black people
  – felt the need to “put down” blacks in order to
    elevate themselves
 A drought in the South lead to
dust storms that destroyed crops.

            “The Dust Bowl”
   The South Was Buried
• Crops turned to dust=No food to
  be sent out
• Homes buried
• Fields blown away
• South in state of emergency
• Dust Bowl the #1 weather crisis
  of the 20th century
 Racial prejudice was alive & well.
Although slavery had ended in 1864,
old ideas were slow to change.
        Jim Crow Laws
• After the American Civil War most
  states in the South passed anti-African
  American legislation. These became
  known as Jim Crow laws.
• These laws included segregation in…
  – Schools       -- Hospitals
  – Theaters      -- Water fountains
  – Restaurants
  – Hotels
  – Public transportation
  – Some states forbid inter-racial marriages
• These laws were instituted in 1896 and
  were not abolished till the late 1950’s
  (even then still not completely).
Racial separation (segregation)
• 9 young African-
  American men (13-
  20) accused of
  raping 2 white girls
  in 1931
• Immediately
  sentenced to death
• Trials went on for
  nearly 15 years
  before all the men
  were dismissed
• Started on a train bound for
• Several white men boarded and
  picked a fight with the black men
• Whites were forced off train by the
  12 black men. The white men
  reported the the black men had
  raped two white girls on the train to
• They were immediately arrested and
  tried in front of an all-white jury.
The trials caused a huge uproar
amongst the black community.
            Reading the Novel

• Setting is all important –be aware of the
  “where” and “when” as you begin

• Point of View – the novel is shaped by the voice
  of a young girl, Scout, who sees the story from a
  position of naïve acceptance

• “Goodness vs. Evil (Ignorance)” is an important
              Point of View
• First Person Narrator
  – Story is told by Scout
  – Told as a woman looking back to when she was
    young school girl.
  – Scout represents the author, Harper Lee, as a
    little girl. However, the story is not strictly
• Scout: young girl age
  6 – 10 through the
  novel. Tomboy, little
  sister, innocent, naive
• Jem: 10 - 14 year olf
  boy, Scout’s older
  brother, respectful,
  protective, leader
• Dill: neighbor boy,
  curious, 7 – 11 years
• The character of
  “Dill,” Scout and Jem’s
  playmate in the novel
  was based upon Lee’s
  actual neighbor,
  Truman Capote
• Capote is famous for
  amongst other things,
  In Cold Blood and
  Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

• Atticus Finch - an attorney whose wife has
  died, leaving him to raise their two children.
  He is fair and just and does not subscribe to
  the ways of the “old South.”

• Tom Robinson – a black man accused of
  raping white girl; he is defended at trial by
Prejudice in the novel

      Social Status
      Gender Bias (Prejudice)
• Women were considered “weak”
• Women were generally not educated for
  occupations outside the home
• In wealthy families, women were expected
  to oversee the servants and entertain guests
• Men not considered capable of nurturing
Legal Issues of the 1930’s which
        impact the story
• Women given the vote
  in 1920
• Juries were MALE
  and WHITE
• “Fair trial” did not
  include acceptance of
  a black man’s word
  against a white man’s

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