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To Kill a Mockingbird Background Text Analysis

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1 To Kill a Mockingbird Background Text Analysis
Ms. Marootian

2 Genre #1 Coming-of-Age :
Over the course of the novel Scout learns to act in a more adult way, even a more ladylike way, and to see the people around her as actual human beings. While Scout and Jem face some disappointments as they learn more about how their world works, they also develop identities that might be able to hold back the world’s darker influences Begs the question: Is it possible to become an adult, to join an adult community, and still keep a child’s sensitivity to injustice?

3 Genre #2 Southern Gothic haunted house Fear of ghosts
inexplicable human evil terrifying nightmare encounters All of this is offset by humor as well

4 Epigraph “Lawyers, I suppose, were children once.” – Charles Lamb -From an essay by Charles Lamb -English writer in the late-18th and early-19th century. -Linking lawyers to children suggests these two opposites perhaps aren’t so different after all, and reminds us that lawyers really are people just like everyone else. - A metaphor for whites and blacks

5 Key Conflicts Man vs. Society: Man vs. Man –
prejudices, and values that the society holds The individual that poses a different view than the society is discriminated against Man vs. Man – Vengeful Present due to a feud, disagreement with principles or an actual physical confrontation. Expressed and enacted in various ways.

6 Major Issues Flawed Education Tom Robinson's innocence - Racism
Atticus' hidden courage - Tolerance Mob Mentality – Racism in Numbers Social Class Division Jem and Scout's experiences with Boo Radley- Lessons Learned Mrs. Dubose‘s Mentality- Old School v. New School The Cunningham's Financial Status vs. The Ewell's Financial Status

7 Social Class in the Novel
This is probably similar to how class structure existed during the 1930’s in the South. The wealthy, although fewest in number, were most powerful. The blacks, although great in number, were lowest on the class ladder, and thus, had the least privileges. Examples of Each Social Class: Wealthy - Represented in text by Finches Country Folk - Represented in text by Cunninghams Low Class Whites– Represented in text by Ewells Black Community – Represented in text by Tom Robinson

8 Living in a World of Discrimination
A cafe near the tobacco market. (Signs: Separate doors for "White" and for "Colored.“) Alabama , 1940

9 Writing Style First Person Point of View (limited) Scout as narrator
-doesn’t comment much on the action - just presents what happens as a series of facts. - Remembers things in a childish way (like Hughes’ “Salvation”) but it is told by an older Scout, looking back. Note: In this way, the narration presents a sort of “doubled” perspective on the events

10 Anticipation guide: “A” for Agree. “D” for Disagree
1. All women/men are created equal 2. Girls should act like girls 3. Boredom can be a devil’s tool 4. Nobody is all bad or all good 5. Some words are so offensive that they should never be stated or written 6. Under our justice system,, all citizens are treated fairly in our courts off law 7. “Sticks and Stones…” is true 8. Speaking standard grammar proves that a person is smart 9. A hero is born,, not made 10. No one is above the law 11. Education is the great equalizer 12. When the law doesn't succeed in punishing criminals,, citizens should do so..

11 To Kill a Mockingbird Text
Close Reading Study p. 1-42

12 Family Tree Established
The text states: “Simon, having forgotten his teacher's dictum on the possession of human chattels, bought three slaves and with their aid established a homestead on the banks of the Alabama River some forty miles above Saint Stephens.” What does this reveal about Scout and Jems ancestors? The Text states: “It was customary for the men in the family to remain on Simon's homestead, Finch's Landing, and make their living from cotton. The place was self-sufficient: modest in comparison with the empires around it, the Landing nevertheless produced everything required to sustain life except ice, wheat flour, and articles of clothing, supplied by river-boats from Mobile.” Atticus breaks this “tradition” to study law, take the bar and become a lawyer

13 Family Tree Established
During his first five years in Maycomb, Atticus practiced economy more than anything; for several years thereafter he invested his earnings in his brother's education. John Hale Finch was ten years younger than my father, and chose to study medicine at a time when cotton was not worth growing; but after getting Uncle Jack started, Atticus derived a reasonable income from the law. He liked Maycomb, he was Maycomb County born and bred; he knew his people, they knew him, and because of Simon Finch's industry, Atticus was related by blood or marriage to nearly every family in the town. What does this tell about Atticus Finch? Family Tree Established

14 Setting Introduced Maycomb, Alabama (fictitious)
Described as a “tired old town” “There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County” Somehow, it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer's day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men's stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o'clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum. People moved slowly then. What might this reveal about its inhabitants?

15 The Finch’s We lived on the main residential street in town-Atticus, Jem and I, plus Calpurnia our cook. Jem and I found our father satisfactory: he played with us, read to us, and treated us with courteous detachment

16 Scout on Calpurnia Calpurnia was something else again. She was all angles and bones; she was nearsighted; she squinted; her hand was wide as a bed slat and twice as hard. She was always ordering me out of the kitchen, asking me why I couldn't behave as well as Jem when she knew he was older, and calling me home when I wasn't ready to come. Our battles were epic and one-sided. Calpurnia always won, mainly because Atticus always took her side. She had been with us ever since Jem was born, and I had felt her tyrannical presence as long as I could remember. What type of woman is Cal?

17 Ambiguity and Mystery Surrounding “The Radley Place”
The “shutters and doors of the Radley house were closed on Sundays, another thing alien to Maycomb's ways: closed doors meant illness and cold weather only.” Once the town was terrorized by a series of morbid nocturnal events: people's chickens and household pets were found mutilated; although the culprit was Crazy Addie, who eventually drowned himself in Barker's Eddy, people still looked at the Radley Place A Negro would not pass the Radley Place at night, he would cut across to the sidewalk opposite and whistle as he walked. The Maycomb school grounds adjoined the back of the Radley lot; from the Radley chickenyard tall pecan trees shook their fruit into the schoolyard, but the nuts lay untouched by the children: Radley pecans would kill you. A baseball hit into the Radley yard was a lost ball and no questions asked.

18 Flawed Educational System
“Before the first morning was over, Miss Caroline Fisher, our teacher, hauled me up to the front of the room and patted the palm of my hand with a ruler, then made me stand in the corner until noon.” Thoughts on this tactic?

19 Miss Caroline The text states: “Then she went to the blackboard and printed the alphabet in enormous square capitals, turned to the class and asked, "Does anybody know what these are?“ I suppose she chose me because she knew my name; as I read the alphabet a faint line appeared between her eyebrows, and after making me read most of My First Reader and the stock-market quotations from The Mobile Register aloud, she discovered that I was literate and looked at me with more than faint distaste. Miss Caroline told me to tell my father not to teach me any more, it would interfere with my reading.” Why do you think this upset her so much?

20 Scout on Reading Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing. What does this reveal about Scout?

21 Scout v. the Curriculum “Our teacher says Miss Caroline's introducing a new way of teaching. She learned about it in college. It'll be in all the grades soon. You don't have to learn much out of books that way -it's like if you wanta learn about cows, you go milk one, see?" "Yeah Jem, but I don't wanta study cows, I--"Sure you do. You hafta know about cows, they're a big part of life in Maycomb County."

22 He’s a Cunningham.. "Miss Caroline, he's a Cunningham."
I sat back down. "What, Jean Louise?" I thought I had made things sufficiently clear. What does this reveal about the Cunninghams? Why does Jem invite him for dinner?

23 Dinner Guest Oddity Walter smothers his meat and veggies in syrup
Scout protests it Cal defends Walter Why?

24 Attack of the Cootie? The boy stood up. He was the filthiest human I had ever seen. His neck was dark gray, the backs of his hands were rusty, and his fingernails were black deep into the quick. He peered at Miss Caroline from a fist-sized clean space on his face……And Burris," said Miss Caroline, "please bathe yourself before you come back tomorrow." The boy laughed rudely. "You ain't sendin' me home, missus. I was on the verge of leavin'- I done done my time for this year.“ What does this reveal about the Ewells?

25 The Treadmill of Maycomb County School System…
“I could not help by perceive the impression that I was being cheated out of something…Out of what I did not know” (44). What does this reveal about Scout? What would opportunities does school offer for a kid like her today?

26 Treasures in a tree? On p. 44 Scout finds “two pieces of chewing gum minus their outer wrappers” in a knothole of tree and on p. 46 she and Jem find a “real old” Indian head penny. Do you think this is random or planned and why?

27 New look on Cal? Scout says that Calpurnia’s “tyranny, unfairness and meddling in her business had faded to gentle grumblings of general disapproval” How is their relationship beginning to change?

28 Dill’s larger than life view of his dad
Dill mentions that his father was “taller than ours, had a black beard (pointed) and was president of the L&N railroad” (48). What doe this show about Dill?

29 Boo Radley Games The kids see Boo Radley as a game they want to beat.
How is this seen in the text?

30 Atticus’s Teachable Moment
P. 65 How does he use the kid’s playing games to teach them a life lesson?

31 Secrets.. What does Scout reveal to the reader that she heard at the end of chapter 4?

32 Boys only! Dill and Jem are having a tough time including Scout. Why?

33 Foot-washing what? Miss Maudie discusses how the Radley’s are foot washing Baptists (really strict religious followers- everything that is pleasure is sinful) She them mentions that the “Bible in the hand of one man can be worse than whiskey in the hand of oh your father” (58). What might she mean by this?

34 Lady in the Maycomb Moon
Scout says, “there is a lady in the moon in Maycomb, she sits at a dresser and combs her hair” (76). What does this man for women in Maycomb?

35 “Pantless” Mishap! Why is Jem pantless at the end of ch 6?
What excuse does Dill give? Is this still funny to the reader or is it getting serious now? Why or why not?

36 Moral Advice: Do Now In chapter 3, Atticus tells Scout, “You never really understand a person until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” What makes this advice so appropriate for Scout? How does this advice translate to you personally?

37 Coexistence of Good and Evil
How has this theme manifested so far in the text?

38 Mended Pants and Blanket Mystery
When Jem discovers that his pants have been mended he is in shock, the same way Scout is when she discovers the blanket someone put over her shoulders; what do you think this represents?

39 Lines of Communication: Cut Off
The kids find more items in the tree, what are they? Why does Nathan say he plugged the tree? Why does Jem cry when he discovers the tree has been plugged?

40 Curriculum Battle Scout was told by her brother that it is not until she “reaches the sixth grade that one learned anything of value.” Do you agree? Why or why not?

41 Snowfall in Alabama Scout proclaims that “the world is endin’!” because she is not used to snow. What themes does this reaction align with?

42 Snowman….Kinda The snowman brings comic relief to a dark tale, yet the snowman itself is not all laughable. What is serious about the snowman incident?

43 Symbolism of the Snow Authors make specific choices to enforce their themes. Make a list of the characteristics of snow on the board. What do you think the snow symbolizes?

44 Symbolism of the Fire Authors make specific choices to enforce their themes. Make a list of the characteristics of fire on the board. What do you think the fire symbolizes?

45 Atticus defends himself..
When Scout asks Atticus if he “defends ni**ers” his response is quite candid. What lesson does he hope to teach her here? Considering the time period, do toy think Atticus is doing the “right” thing?

46 Is Atticus selfish? He tells Scout that “he couldn’t hold his head in town” and that he couldn’t “represent the county in the legislature” and that he couldn’t even “tell [Scout and Jem] not to do something ever again.” What does this mean to you?

47 The verdict decided 100 years ago
Atticus responds “no honey” when Scout asks if they are going to win. Why does he say this?

48 Aunt Alexandra Scout equates her to Mount Everest. Why?
What do we think of her?

49 Scout v. Francis Why does Scout become violent with Francis, is this a good enough reason? What does Francis represent?

50 Is honesty the best policy?
Uncle Jack is not straightforward when Scout asks him what a “whore lady” is. Atticus responds, “when a child asks you something, answer him for goodness’ sake”. Do you agree, why or why not?

51 A Picture of Atticus In ch 10, Scout paints an image of Atticus, how is he viewed by them? Atticus said to Jem one day, "I'd rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you'll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.” Why is it a sin? Who is a “mockingbird?”

52 The “Mad Dog” What is the story of the “mad dog” what does this symbolize for the town? The kids? Atticus? Why didn’t Atticus want the kids to know he was called “One Shot Finch?”

53 Morphine: A Southern Lady’s Drug
1930s Typical Morphine Addict: White female Middle-aged or older Widowed Homebound Lives in the south Property owner Began using morphine for medical reasons (pain relief) In “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the Finch children will become acquainted with a morphine addict named Mrs. Dubose. Although only a fictitious character, she personifies the American morphine addict of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

54 Cal and the Kids at Church
Lula says “you ain’t got no business bringin’ white chillun here, they got their own church we got our own” Why does Harper Lee include this? Cal’s response is : it’s the same God ain’t it? What does this show about her character?

55 Cal’s “double life?” When Calpurnia introduces them to her "black" community, The children noticed that Calpurnia talks differently. Scout says that Calpurnia "lives a double life", Do you think there is such a thing as a "double life"?

56 Church Revelation The kids learn about Tom Robinson at church. What do they learn and why is it significant? Why won’t people hire Helen Robinson? What does Scout’s reaction show about her?

57 Cal’s double life Cal says “folks don’t like to have somebody walkin around knowing more than they do. It aggravates them. You;r not gonna change any of them by talkin’ right, they have to want to learn themselves. And if they don’t want to, keep your mouth shut or talk their language.” What do you think this means?

58 Aunt Alexandra Scout remembers Alexandra’s first words as “Put my bag in the front room Calpurnia” What is significant about this? Scout says “Aunt Alexandra fit into Maycomb like a hand into a glove, but never into the world of Jem and me” Explain.

59 What’s rape? Scout asks Atticus: “What’s rape?” and he responds “it is the carnal knowledge of a female by force and without consent.” Although this is factually accurate, what should he have added to be more beneficial for Scout?

60 Appropriate or Not? Aunt Alexandra is appalled to hear that the kids went to church with Cal. She confronts Atticus about letting her go and he responds that “she is a faithful member of this family and you will simply have to accept things the way they are.” Do you think Aunt Alex is capable of accepting things?

61 A Bedtime Surprise! Dill has run away from home because his mother and new father did not pay enough attention to him. He took a train from Meridian to Maycomb Junction, fourteen miles away, and covered the remaining distance on foot and on the back of a cotton wagon. Why does Lee include this detail?

62 Chapter 15 reading: the Lynch Mob

63 Mayella Violet Ewell P. 242-250
What can we gather from her through this? Is Atticus being nasty? Why or why not? What is significant about her name?

64 The truth about the story
What do we learn from Tom Robinson’s testimony? Why is this surprising to the reader?

65 Dill’s Cry Why does Dill feel “sick” at the end of chapter 19?
What do you think this represents?

66 Dolphus Raymond’s Story
Why is this story particulary tragic?

67 Atticus’s speech P. 274 Why is his speech so effective?
How does he use persuasion well?

68 Jem’s turn to Cry P. 284 Why does Jem cry?
How does this differ from the 1st time he cries?

69 Respect for Atticus P. 283 Why does Reverend Sykes adamant that Scout stand up when her father passes? What does this show about Atticus and the black community?

70 A long time deliberating
On page ____ we learn that the jury way out for

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