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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Slides 1 -2: Summary Slide 3: Family Tree Slide 4: Character of Scout Finch Slide 5: Character of Atticus Slide 6:

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Presentation on theme: "To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Slides 1 -2: Summary Slide 3: Family Tree Slide 4: Character of Scout Finch Slide 5: Character of Atticus Slide 6:"— Presentation transcript:

1 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

2 Slides 1 -2: Summary Slide 3: Family Tree Slide 4: Character of Scout Finch Slide 5: Character of Atticus Slide 6: Character of Jem and Slide 7: Other important characters Slide 8: Other important characters Slide 9: Themes Slide 10: Themes Slide 11: Themes Slide 12: Themes Slide 13: Key Questions and Quotations Slide 14: Summary – Key Points Index Page

3 Slide 1: Summary – Part 1 Scout Finch (the female narrator) lives with her brother Jem and their widowed father Atticus in the small town of Maycomb in Alabama. Atticus Finch is a lawyer in the town and as a result is well off. He is an upstanding citizen and an honourable man. Scout and Jem befriend a young boy named Dill and we see the events of the story through their eyes as the stories are narrated by Scout. Dill becomes fascinated by a house called Radley place where Boo Radley lives. Boo Radley becomes a fascination for the children as they are left presents by the strange man in a tree in his garden. These gifts are left during the first section of the novel. The focus of the novel shifts when Atticus agrees to defend a local black man Tom Robinson who has been accused of raping a white woman. The case is particularly prominent in a predominantly white community who disagree with Atticus’ role. The Maycomb society are largely racist and as a result of Atticus’ role Jem and Scout both suffer abuse from other children. In the summer aunt Alexandra (Atticus’ sister) comes to live with Jem and Scout. Dill is supposedly living with his ‘new father’ in a different town runs away to join Scout and Jem in Maycomb.

4 Slide 2: Summary- Part 2 The Tom Robinson trial begins, Mayella Ewell is the woman who has accused Tom of rape. At the trial Jem and Scout sit on the coloured balcony with the town’s black citizens. Atticus provides very clear evidence that Mayella and her father Bob are in fact lying. Mayella had propositioned Tom and was caught by her father, to cover her shame she accused Tom of rape. Despite the impressive evidence which Atticus provides proving Tom’s innocence the all white jury convict Tom. Tom recognising his innocence tries to escape from prison but is shot. Jem’s faith in the justice system is shaken and he becomes despondent and doubtful. Bob Ewell believes he has been made a fool of and vows to seek his revenge on Atticus and the judge. He abuses Tom’s widow and attempts to break into the judge’s house. Eventually Bob attacks Jem and Scout on their way home from a Halloween party. Boo Radley intervenes and saves the children. Boo attacks Ewell in his attempt to save the children and stabs him during the struggle. Bob Ewell is killed. Boo carries a wounded Jem back into the house where the sheriff in a plea to save Boo insists that Bob Ewell tripped over the tree and caused his own injury by falling on his knife. Boo once more disappears to live his solitary life. Later on Scout feels as though she finally understands Boo. He has become human to her no longer a shadow of danger or something to be feared. Scout finally embraces her father’s attitude to show sympathy and understanding to all.

5 Slide 3: Characters – The Family Tree Atticus Finch – Father, lawyer, widower Jean Louise “Scout” Finch - The narrator and protagonist of the story “Jem” Finch Arthur “Boo” Radley A recluse who never sets foot outside his house, Boo dominates the imaginations of Jem, Scout, and Dill Bob Ewell - A drunken, mostly unemployed member of Maycomb’s poorest family “Dill” Harris - Jem and Scout’s summer neighbour and friend Miss Maudie Atkinson - The Finches’ neighbour, a sharp-tongued widow, and an old friend of the family Calpurnia - The Finches’ black cook Aunt Alexandra - Atticus’s sister, a strong-willed woman with a fierce devotion to her family Mayella Ewell - Bob Ewell’s abused, lonely, unhappy daughter Tom Robinson - The black field hand accused of rape Heck Tate - The sheriff of Maycomb and a major witness at Tom Robinson’s trial

6 Slide 4: Characters Scout Finch At the beginning of the novel Scout is an innocent five year old, who has never experienced the evils of the world. As the novel progresses Scout comes face to face with the world’s evil in the form of racism and deceit. As this progression happens the reader wanders whether or not Scout will come away form her experiences with the same optimistic attitude she began with or will she be bruised and hurt like Tom Robinson and Boo Radley. Scout is an unusual young lady. She learns to read before she even starts school, she fights boys without fear and exposes an ever confident attitude. She is a bit of a tom boy in a very prim and proper town where ladies are expected to behave like ladies. Scout is definitely her father’s daughter, he has nurtured her mind conscience and identity. Whilst girls Scout’s age are wearing dresses and playing with dolls Scout wears overalls, climbs tress with Jem and fights. Thanks to Atticus’s wise attitude Scout learns that the human race not only has the capacity for great evil but also the capacity for great good, and that she must face every situation with sympathy and understanding. Scout is not always tactful and does not grasp social niceties when she tells her teacher that one students is too poor to pay for lunch. Scout fails to understand human ignorance at times and finds it hard to believe that her teacher openly criticises Hitler’s treatment of the Jews whilst being racist herself towards the black community. Scout’s development into a person capable of understanding shows that whatever evil she encounters, she will retain her conscience without becoming cynical or jaded. By the end of the novel Scout has moved from a child to a near grown up with an understanding attitude.

7 Slide 5: Characters Atticus Finch Atticus is a well off man in the town of Maycomb especially since the novel is set during the Great Depression, a time of widespread poverty. Atticus is a man of intelligence, wisdom, calm and a model citizen in the town. As a result Atticus is respected by everyone. He functions in this novel as a moral backbone holding the Maycomb society together. Atticus is called upon by the community in times of need however it is this same willingness to help that results in Atticus falling out with many Maycomb citizens when he agrees to defend Tom Robinson. Atticus’s actions make him the object of abuse and scorn in Maycomb. However he is clearly valued and after the trial his status in the town is restored. Atticus practises the same sympathy and understanding that he preaches to Jem and Scout, and he never holds anything against the people of Maycomb, despite their racist attitudes. Atticus knows that people are different good and bad, he shows admiration of the good and understanding to the bad. He passes this on to Scout and it is this outlook which protects the innocent such as Scout from being destroyed by contact with evil. Atticus is a well respected man however neither Jem nor Scout idolise him at the beginning of the novel. Both children are embarassed that he is older than the other fathers and that he does not hunt or fish. Atticus shows his wise parenting in chapter 30 when he says “Before Jem looks at anyone else he looks at me, and I’ve tried to live so I can look squarely back at him,” This attitude ultimately wins their respect. Atticus is consistent throughout the novel despite his children’s evolving attitudes. He stands for justice and willing views the perspectives of others. He does not evolve during the novel but retains his qualities and sustains the role as moral guide and voice of conscience throughout the novel.

8 Slide 6: Characters Jem Finch Jem is older than Scout and finds his life shattered during his experience with the Tom Robinson trial. This experience comes as Jem is entering puberty and leaves him feeling confused and disillusioned. Jem becomes despondent and depressed when he discovers that justice does not prevail. He feels vulnerable and confused. He tries to uphold the commitment to justice that Atticus taught he and this remains throughout the novel. Jem is not without hope unlike My Raymond. Atticus reassures Jem and assures him that he has to learn from what has happened. Atticus’s prominence in Jem’s life seems to hold a promise of recovery for Jem. Towards the end of the novel Jem begins to show that he has learnt a positive lesson from the trial. We see this in chapter 25 when he refuses to let Scout squash a roly poly bug as it has done no harm. Jem now wants to protect the fragile and harmless after witnessing the unfair treatment of Tom Robinson. Jem resolution of his cynicism and his movement towards a happy life is supported at the beginning of the novel when Scout recalls that Jem’s initial interest in Boo Radley strongly represented his ability to shed innocence without loosing hope.

9 Slide 7: Characters Boo Radley Boo is a recluse who never sets foot outside the house. He dominates the imagination of Scout, Jem and Dill and appears to be an evil and beast of a man. He is a powerful symbol of goodness who is surrounded by evil. He shows his goodness when he leaves presents for Jem and Scout and then saves them from the evil Bob Ewell. Boo was damaged by his cruel father and poses as a threat that evil can possess innocence and goodness. He is one of the novel’s ‘Mockingbirds’, a good person injured by the evil of mankind. Dill He is Scout and Jem’s friend and neighbour, he is a confident boy with an active imagination. He becomes obsessed with Boo. He represents innocence and childhood in the novel.

10 Slide 8: Characters Bob Ewell and Mayella Ewell Father and daughter of Maycomb’s poorest family. Bob knowingly knows that Tom is innocent and still accuses him of rape. Bob represents the dark side of the south; ignorance, poverty and racial prejudice. Mayella is abused, lonely, unhappy daughter. Although we can pity Mayella because of her father, we cannot pardon her for her shameful indictment of Tom Robinson. Tom Robinson A black man who works in the fields. He is accused of raping Mayella Ewell Tom is another one of the novel’s ‘mockingbirds’ a very important symbol of an innocent man who is destroyed by an evil racist. Miss Maudie Atkinson A neighbour of Atticus. She is a sharp tongued widow and a friend of the family. She has a passion for justice along with Atticus and is a friend to Scout and Jem

11 Slide 9: Themes Good and Evil The main theme in the novel is the exploration of moral nature of humans. It is a exploration of whether people are essentially good or essentially evil. The novel explores this idea through using Scout and Jem movement from childhood innocence to mature understanding adults. As a result of this transition from innocence to experience, one of the important themes involves threat, hatred, prejudice, racism and ignorance. These themes show how innocent people can be betrayed by ignorance. Even Jem is victimized to an extent by his discovery of the evil of racism during and after the trial. Scout is able to sustain her faith in human nature. The moral voice in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is embodied by Atticus Finch is unique in the novel because he understands people without loosing faith when evil occurs. Atticus accepts people for what they are good and bad qualities included. Atticus accepts these points and tries to see life through other people’s eyes. Atticus can admire Mrs Dubose’ s courage whilst in deplores her racism. Scout learns from her father and at last sees Boo Radley in this way and accept him for good and bad points

12 Slide 10: Themes Moral Importance The education of children forms a large part of the novel. In a sense the novel plots the development of Scout and Jem from childhood innocence to maturity. The theme of education and moral importance is best shown between Atticus and Scout, as Atticus devotes himself to instilling a social conscience. The scenes at school provide a direct comparison to Atticus’s effective education of his children, Scout is frequently confronted with teachers who are frustrated by her attitude and fail to meet her needs. The novel’s most important message is that the lessons of sympathy and understanding are the most vital. Atticus’s ability to put himself in his children’s shoes and see their perspective makes him an understanding and valuable teacher.

13 Slide 11: Themes Social Inequality The social inequality in the novel is explored using the town of Maycomb and its complicated hierarchy. The Finch family are well off within the town largely due to Atticus’s employment. As a result most of the town’s people are beneath them. The country farmers the Cunninghams lie below the town’s people due to their ignorance whilst the Ewells are below the Cunninghams because of their immoral behaviour. The black community in Maycomb lie even further below the Ewells in spite of their admirable qualities and good will. It is this social hierarchy which allows the innocent Tom Robinson to be punished by the evil Bob Ewell. These social divisions make up a large part of the adult world which Jem and Scout see, and these divisions appear to be irrational and destructive. Social division ultimately epitomises the prejudice and ignorance of human nature.

14 Slide 12: Themes Small Town life Lee focuses closely on the old fashioned small town values of Maycomb. In order to contrast with the themes of ignorance and prejudice and the suspense and tension of the novel. Lee emphasises the slow paced and good natured ambiance of small town Maycomb. Lee juxtaposes small town values with images of evil, to show the forces of good and evil within the town. For example: The terror of the fire is contrasted with people of Maycomb coming together to save Miss Maudie’s valued possessions. Mockingbirds The title carries great symbolic weight in the novel, as it represents good being destroyed by evil. The mockingbird represents the idea of good- thus to kill a mockingbird is to destroy innocence. Throughout the novel Jem, Tom, Dill and Boo are all symbolised as mockingbirds – ie innocents who have been destroyed through contact with evil. This connection is explicit after Tom’s death Mr. Underwood compares his death to “the senseless slaughter of songbirds,” Whilst Miss Maudie epitomises the concept of the novel when she declares “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but... sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” The fact that Jem and Scout’s last name is Finch (a small bird) suggests that they are vulnerable and innocent within this racist world.

15 Slide 13: Key Quotations and Questions Key Quotations You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. - Chapter 3 Atticus to Scout “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy... but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” Chapter 10 Miss Maudie Winter, and a man walked into the street, dropped his glasses, and shot a dog. Summer, and he watched his children’s heart break. Autumn again, and Boo’s children needed him. Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough. Chapter 31 Scout Key Questions 1.How does the writer use the trial of Tom Robinson to bring out the themes and issues in this book – Edexcel June 2006 2.What do we learn about life in Maycomb county in 1930s from the presentation of female characters in this book? You may refer to two or three characters. – Edexcel June 2006

16 Slide 14: Summary Scout is the main female narrator – 5 years old at the start of the novel. The novel focuses on her movement from innocent child to understanding adult. The novel focuses on prejudice, racism, social class and the battle between good and evil. The novel is set in Maycomb, Alabama during 1930s America – the time of the great depression. Scout has an older brother Jem, her father is Atticus, they make up the Finch family. Scout and Jem are friends with Dill – during their friendship they become obsessed with Boo Radley and he is portrayed as an evil character. Scout and Jem are saved by Boo Radley at the end of the novel and they change their opinion of him. The main event of the novel is the trial of Tom Robinson. Tom Robinson is a black man accused of rape by Mayella Ewell. Atticus defends Tom and proves him innocent, however the all white jury find him guilty. The trial of Tom has a huge impact on Jem and Scout. Jem becomes despondent and depressed that justice fails, whilst Scout has to learn to accept people for who they are. The relationship Atticus has with his children is pivotal in the novel as he teaches them the most valuable lesson of all: To truly understand someone else's point of view, accept people for who they are and accept their good and bad points.


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