Presentation on theme: "Background Information on Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird English 9H Ms. Mathews."— Presentation transcript:
Background Information on Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird English 9H Ms. Mathews
About the Author… Born Nelle Harper Lee on April 28, 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama She attended Huntingdon College and studied law at the University of Alabama She was friends with another famous writer, Truman Capote.
Writing Career Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960 during the beginning of the Civil Rights movement The novel immediately shot to the top of the New York Times Best Seller List Lee received the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1961 To Kill a Mockingbird was her first and only novel, but she did write some essays In 1962, the novel was made into a movie starring Gregory Peck.
Judge a Book by its Cover Based on the following book covers, what are your predictions for the novel?
Dominant Characters in TKAM Jean Louise “Scout” Finch Jeremy “Jem” Finch Atticus Finch Arthur “Boo” Radley
Point of View Point of View TKAM is told from the point of view of Scout; she narrates the story of her life from ages 6 to 8. Scout’s observations fit into two categories: ◦What she thought, felt, and saw at that time (when she was young) ◦Her reevaluation of the same events (in retrospect)
Similarities between Lee and Scout Harper LeeScout Finch Grew up in the 1930s in a rural Alabama town Father was Amasa Lee, an attorney who served in the state legislature in Alabama Witnessed many African American men unjustly convicted and imprisoned/executed for the rapes of white women Six years old when Scottsboro trials were covered in state and local newspapers Older brother and neighbor, Truman Capote, are playmates Grew up in the 1930s in a rural Alabama town Father was Atticus Finch, an attorney who served in the state legislature in Alabama Witnessed her father representing an African American man who was accused of raping a white woman Six years old when the trial of Tom Robinson takes place Older brother and neighbor, Dil, are playmates
Historical Context The novel is set in the 1930’s. During the Great Depression, millions of people lost their savings, jobs, and homes. Many people were poor and afraid of what the future would bring. In 1931, an Alabaman working 55-60 hours a week earned around $156 a year!
Gothic Imagery Gothic imagery is popular in both literature and film. It includes elements such as: ◦Supernatural entities (ghosts, monsters, witches) ◦Sinister actions (murder, violence, secret plots) ◦Haunted settings (houses, castles, secret hideouts) ◦Boundaries & Prisons (dungeons, prisons, traps) Examples of the gothic: Dracula, Alien, Psycho, Frankenstein, Independence Day. Behind the gothic is the idea of imprisonment within and the breaking of boundaries, which is shown throughout TKAM.
Major Themes in TKAM Prejudice and Tolerance Coexistence of Good and Evil Loss of Innocence Existence of Social Inequality Courage and Integrity
Prejudice and Tolerance How people feel about and respond to differences in others Ends of the spectrum: ◦People who fear and hate, such as those who make judgments based on skin color and gender ◦People who show understanding and sympathy towards those who might be different or less fortunate
Coexistence of Good and Evil The moral nature of human beings—are people essentially good or essentially evil? Shown through Scout and Jem’s transition from a perspective of childhood innocence, in which they assume that people are good because they have never seen evil, to a more adult perspective, in which they have confronted evil and must incorporate it into their understanding of the world
Loss of Innocence Scout tells the story as an adult looking back on her childhood. The events she describes also mark for her the end of her innocent childhood and the beginning of her growth towards adulthood. Both Jem and Scout come to realize that life is not always fair, that good does not always triumph over evil.
Existence of Social Inequality Differences in social status Rigid social divisions are revealed in the book to be both irrational and destructive Criticizes the role of class status and, ultimately, prejudice in human interaction
Courage and Integrity Several forms of courage are explored Shows that it is both a physical and mental state which can manifest itself in multiple actions
How did it feel to be an African American during the 1930s? Jane Elliott Experiment: A Class Divided Honeycomb, Amabala