About Harper Lee
Harper Lee was born on April 28, 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama. She was the youngest of her three siblings. She grew up as a tomboy. Her father was a lawyer and a member of the Alabama state legislature, who also owned part of the Monroeville news paper. For most of Harper's life her mother suffered from a mental illness and almost never left the house. It was believed that she had bipolar disorder. Harper developed her keen interest in literature during high school. She went to the all-female Huntingdon College in Montgomery but felt that she couldn't be more different than the other girls caring less about fashion or makeup. So she transferred to the University of Alabama located in Tuscaloosa along the banks of the Black Warrior River in Alabama. Pursuing her interest in writing she joined the school's news paper and Humour Magazine eventually becoming the publication editor. After her first year she told her family she had an interest in writing and that summer she went to Oxford University in England as an exchange student to study literature. When she returned in the fall to the University of Alabama she dropped out after the first semester and headed to New York to follow her dreams and become a writer. When she was in New York she struggled for a year working job after job. She befriended the Broadway composer Michael Martin Brown and his wife Joy and as a Christmas present the Browns decided to support her for a year. She immediately started to write full time and create a manuscript that would eventually turn into To Kill a Mocking Bird.
Point of view
Harper Lee wrote To Kill a Mocking Bird as a first person perspective through the youthful eyes of Jean Louise (Scout) Finch. Scout represents Harper as a child. Scout thinks that all is good and there is no bad and that she knows everything, however, she is naive. Over the course of the book through Scout's narration you can tell that she matures.
Bildungsroman is two German words combined together, bildungs meaning education and roman meaning fittingly. Typically these books take place during the main characters physiological development and moral education. The Bildungsroman books usually end on a positive note when the main characters has overcome his or hers foolish mistakes. To Kill a Mocking Bird is a bildungsroman because throughout the book you're able to see Scout grow up and come of age by experiencing life through her adventures with Dill and Jem.
Jem Finch is Scout's elder brother. Jem is ages ten to thirteen through the book. Jem and Scout have known each other their entire lives. Jem and Scout share many adventures together. They've always been nice to each other and enjoyed to spend time with each other. As the book progresses they grow apart because Jem is spending more and more time with their summer neighbour Dill.
Scout is the main character in the book. She doesn't understand that not everything is good because she has her childhood innocence and beliefs that everything is good and there is no evil. She is a curious girl that loves her older brother Jem. She often gets herself into some mischief and she is very aggressive. She also fights with her classmates frequently.
Atticus is the father of Scout Finch. He is a very honest and caring man. He loved Scout and Jem. Almost every night Scout and her father would sit together and read the news paper. He is a lawyer and part of the Alabama State legislature. He was known for being a good lawyer and seldom lost a case. He was chosen to represent Tom Robinson during his trial but they ended up losing.
Dill is Jem and Scout's summer neighbour. Every summer he would stay with his Aunt Stephanie. He always tagged along with Jem and Scout. He was obsessed with seeing Boo Radly and would always be making a plan to trick Boo into coming out of his house.
Miss Maudie is Scout and Jem's neighbour across the street. She always liked Jem and Scout and would let them play in her yard. She treasured her Azaleas very much and would make sure Jem and Scout were very careful around them.
Tom was accused of assaulting Mayella Ewell by Mayella's father Bob. His case was taken to trial and he was represented by Atticus Finch. When the trial was finished the jury's verdict was guilty. He was sentenced to a life sentence but when he got to the prison he tried to escape and then the guards shot him 13 times.
To Kill a Mocking Bird took place during the Great Depression. Through the 20s farmers had been farming poorly and there had been a sustained drought, because of this the dust bowls were created. In 1929, the stock market crashed. In 1932, more then 15 million Americans were unemployed. They asked President Hoover to make a change but all he said was that Americans needed to have "Patience and self-reliance." The Americans had no income so they stoped spending, that brought the economy to a hault. In 1929, the stock market crashed. that was the tipping point to start the great Depression. In 1933, the Americans elected a new president, Franklin Roosevelt who vowed to use the power of the government to make Americans lives better. When Roosevelt got into office, after just 6 months he'd passed 15 new major laws. As soon as Roosevelt got into office things started to get better.
The exposition is at the beginning of the book when we are getting to know Jem and Scout. The book To Kill a Mocking Bird takes place in Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930s. The town of Maycomb is a very small town where everybody knows everybody. It is a very rural community. The book starts when Scout is just turning six. It's about the daily lives of Scout and Jem.
The rising action is when Atticus is assigned to defend Tom Robinson because we learn that Tom Robinson assaulted Mayella Ewell. Atticus is devoted to helping Tom and truly believes that Tom is innocent.
The climax is when the trial is taking place. This determines if Tom will be guilty or innocent of assaulting Mayella Ewell. The video shows Atticus's closing statement at the trial.
The falling action is when Tom was taken to prison but as soon as he was there he was shot. He was shot because he was trying to escape over the fence.
The resolution is when Scout and Atticus are with Jem after he was hurt. This is when Scout finally meets Boo and realized that he is just a normal person and that everything that she believed as a child was wiped away.
Coexistence of Good and Evil
Coexistence of good and evil is the biggest theme in To Kill a Mocking Bird. Scout and Jem are still young and think that all is good or all is bad. When Scout, Jem and Dill play they always try to make Boo Radly come out of his house. They think they'll see a monster when he comes outside. Through the whole book they think that he is a terrible monster but in the final chapter when he saves Jem from Bob Ewell, Scout sees that he is just a normal person.
Existence of Social Inequality
Existence of social inequality is a theme in To Kill a Mocking Bird. You're able to see this when Tom is clearly innocent they prosecuted him because he had coloured skin.
The gothic motifs in To Kill a Mocking Bird are things that unnaturally occur like snow falling, crazy dogs that Atticus shot or the fire that destroyed Miss. Maudie's house. Small town life is another motif. Small town life is the opposite of gothic motifs. They are things like a slow paced life in Maycomb, where everyone knows who everyone is.
A mocking bird is used as a symbol a lot in To Kill a Mocking Bird. I think the mocking bird is used to represent that there is always some good and that it is a sin to kill a mocking bird. To kill a mocking bird is a symbol to take advantage of someone that is weaker then you.