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To kill a mockingbird

To kill a mockingbird

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To kill a mockingbird

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  1. To kill a mockingbird Introductory Notes Mr. Bradley English 11 Stevens High School

  2. Harper Lee • Born April 28, 1926, in Monroeville, Al • Father was a lawyer • Mother’s maiden name was Finch • Childhood mirrors that of main character • “To Kill a Mockingbird” published in 1960 • Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1961 • At age 86, she is alive and resides in New York • She rarely makes public appearances or gives interviews

  3. Harper Lee • “I never expected any sort of success with Mockingbird. I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of the reviewers but, at the same time, I sort of hoped someone would like it enough to give me encouragement. Public encouragement. I hoped for a little, as I said, but I got rather a whole lot, and in some ways this was just about as frightening as the quick, merciful death I'd expected.”—Harper Lee,1964[

  4. SETTING OF THE NOVEL • Southern United States, 1930’s • Great Depression • Prejudice and legal segregation • Ignorance

  5. LEGAL ISSUES • Women given the vote in 1920 • Juries were MALE and WHITE • “Fair trial” did not include acceptance of a black man’s word against a white man’s

  6. Legal issues • “Scottsboro Boys” convicted of rape • Supreme Court reverses convictions • Tried 2ndtime; found guilty • Supreme Court reverses the convictions again • Eventually, four freed, five serve prison terms • Virtually impossible for black man to receive fair trial

  7. The Great Depression The per capita income for families in Alabama (and Oklahoma) is $125 - $250 Many southern blacks pick cotton for a living Franklin D. Roosevelt is President Life During the 1930’s

  8. Life During the 1930s

  9. Life During the 1930’s • Adolph Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany • Germany hosts 1936 Summer Olympics • Jesse Owens, a black man, vs. Luz Long, an Aryan German • Jesse Owens won the gold medal and Long won the silver. • Despite racial tensions, the two became good friends • Long was later killed during World War II, and Jesse Owens traveled back to Germany to pay his respects when the war was over.

  10. Legal Segregation in Alabama, 1923-1940 • No white female nurses in hospitals that treat black men • Separate passenger cars for whites and blacks • Separate waiting rooms for whites and blacks • Separation of white and black convicts • Separate schools • No interracial marriages • Segregated water fountains • Segregated theatres

  11. Racial prejudice was alive & well. Although slavery had ended in 1864, old ideas were slow to change.

  12. Gender Bias (Prejudice) • Women were considered “weak” • Women were generally not educated for occupations outside the home • In wealthy families, women were expected to oversee the servants and entertain guests • Men not considered capable of nurturing children

  13. 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)

  14. Characters • Atticus Finch - an attorney whose wife has died, leaving him to raise their two children: - Jeremy Atticus “Jem” Finch - 10-year-old boy - Jean Louise “Scout” Finch - 6-year-old girl • Tom Robinson – a black man accused of raping a white girl; he is defended at trial by Atticus

  15. Mockingbird Themes • Education—the importance of an education and how society is segregated even within race and ethnicity. • Poverty—the Depression of the 1930’s affected the entire South in a dramatic fashion. • Prejudice—segregation of the south. • Coming of Age—the maturation of both Jem and Scout. • Trust—Earning one’s trust and keeping it. The relationship that Atticus has with his children. • Racism in the Southern Courts—The real account of the Scottsboro Boys and their unfair and inhumane treatment in the courts is the basis for Harper Lee’s court scene with Tom Robinson. • “Goodness vs. Ignorance (Evil)” is an important theme

  16. Reading the Novel • Setting is all important –be aware of the “where” and “when” as you begin • Point of View – the novel is shaped by the voice of a young girl who sees the story from a position of naïve acceptance; 1st person “Innocent Eye”