2 Background Setting (fictional) Maycomb County, Alabama Set in the 1930sPublished in 1960BasisHarper Lee was born in 1926 (and is still alive)Many of the characters and events in the novel were based on things Lee experienced while growing up in Alabamabiography.com
3 The Great Depression: 1929Imagine: You have invested $100 in something and expect to have $110 when you go to get your money back. You make a budget, planning out your expenses around that $110 because you’re sure the money will be there; in fact, you’ll probably even come out with more than that!However, when you go to get your money, you only come out with $60. Not only did you not get a return on your investment, but you lost some of the money you initially put in, for no good reason. How are you going to afford your budget now?
4 The Great Depression: 1929 The Stock Market In order to finance their businesses, companies sell stocks to the publicIn theory, a share of stock is basically a loan that benefits both parties – if I loan my money to Company X and they do well, I make money on my initial investmentIn October 1929, because of shaky happenings in London and in American Congress, investors started to get nervous and began selling their stocks (getting out while the values were still high)This created a snowball effect; as more people pulled their money out, the value of stocks began to drop, causing even more people to get out while they could still save some of their moneyOn October 29, 1929, known as “Black Tuesday,” the stock market crashed completely as everyone scrambled to get out at the same time, causing many people to lose a lot of money they had been counting on
5 The Great Depression: 1929As businesses lost money, they began laying off workers and even shutting down completely, causing many people to lose their jobsEven people with money suffered because others couldn’t afford to pay for the goods or services they providedThe government established the “relief” program, which, like modern-day Welfare, was designed to help the financially disadvantaged afford basic things like food and sheltervideo.about.com
6 Legal Segregation In 1865, the Civil War ended slavery However, in the 1930s (only 65 years later), many people were still prejudiced – after all, there were still people alive who may have owned slaves!Blacks and whites were legally kept separate in many public areas, such as schools, restaurants, train stations, etc.Racism was especially prevalent in the South, where the novel takes placemuseumsyndicate.com
7 Women in the ’30sWomen were expected to be homemakers, so their training as young ladies needed to prepare them for this. They were brought up to be mild-mannered and quiet, to speak softly and properly, and to always be dressed like a lady.The main character, Scout, is a tomboy, and since her mother passed away when she was very young, she is not receiving this “training.”rubylane.com