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Harper Lee A Mockingbird Biography Primer (1926 – Present)

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Presentation on theme: "Harper Lee A Mockingbird Biography Primer (1926 – Present)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Harper Lee A Mockingbird Biography Primer (1926 – Present)

2 Early Life Born in 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama (pop. 7,000). Parents were Amasa Coleman Lee and Frances Cunningham Finch Lee (remember those names!). Youngest of four children. Tomboy and voracious reader. Truman Capote was her neighbor from 1928 to 1933 (he was more famous during his lifetime than Lee). Their later friendship was depicted in the 2005 film, “Capote.”

3 Education Graduated from Monroeville HS Attended Huntingdon College, Studied Law at University of Alabama, Spent one year at Oxford University. Worked as a reservation clerk at Eastern Airlines in the 1950’s (left to become a writer).

4 To Kill a Mockingbird Submitted manuscript in Book was rejected: was told the novel was too episodic. Spent the next 2.5 years revising her novel Was helped by her editor, friend Truman Capote, other writers. Finally published in Won Pulitzer Prize for Literature in Made into Oscar winning film in 1962 (No.34 on American Film Institute’s list of 100 best movies). Only book Harper Lee ever published.

5 TKaMB Biography Connections Harper Lee and book’s narrator (Scout Finch) were both tomboys. Atticus Finch (Scout’s father) and Harper Lee’s father, Amasa, were both small town lawyers. Scout’s friend “Dill” Harris was modeled after Lee’s friend Truman Capote. Both the Finch’s family and Lee’s family have famous ancestors (Harper Lee’s great-grandfather was Robert E. Lee). Main crime of TKaMB was modeled on the Scottsboro Boy’s trial, also from Alabama.Main crime of TKaMB was modeled on the Scottsboro Boy’s trial, also from Alabama.

6 Criticism of TKaMB Stephen Metcalf’s article for Slate looks at the history of TKaMB criticism and re-examines the work from a newer perspective.Stephen Metcalf’s article for Slate looks at the history of TKaMB criticism and re-examines the work from a newer perspective. Is it a children’s book? Some say it looks at horrible circumstances through rose-tinted glasses. Others argue it merely looks realistically at horrible events through the innocent eyes of a child. Often passed over for serious literary criticism, but is taught in 70 percent of all secondary schools.

7 Later Life Since TKaMB was published, Lee has granted almost no interviews. Received several honorary degrees, but she has agreed to speak at none of them. Not reclusive, though: has many friends and has appeared at the University of Alabama to listen to students read essays based on her famous book. Rumors circulate that she continues to write, although she has not published anything since 1965.

8 Review Quiz What year was Harper Lee born? –1927 –1926 –1945 –1915

9 Where did Harper Lee grow up? –Maycomb, AL –New York, NY –Monroeville, AL –Birmingham, AL

10 What real life event was the major plot of TKaMB based on? –World War II. –The Scottsboro Boys’ Trial. –Truman Capote’s life. –The Civil War.

11 What famous Lee was related to Harper Lee? –Spike Lee. –Richard R. Lee. –Atticus Finch Lee. –Robert E. Lee.

12 What famous literary award did TKaMB win in 1961? –The Nobel Prize. –The Pulitzer Prize. –The Newberry Award. –The Booker T Award.

13 Bonus Question: What Academy Award did “To Kill a Mockingbird” not win? –Best Picture. –Best Actor. –Best Art Direction. –Best Screenplay.

14 The End Enjoy reading the book!


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