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To Kill a Mockingbird. By Harper Lee. The Setting of the Novel. Southern United States Maycomb , Alabama: Alabama is renown as a site of racial tension, historically. 1930s - The Great Depression - Racial segregation. The 1930s – The Great Depression.

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the setting of the novel
The Setting of the Novel
  • Southern United States
  • Maycomb, Alabama: Alabama is renown as a site of racial tension, historically.
  • 1930s

- The Great Depression

- Racial segregation

the 1930s the great depression
The 1930s – The Great Depression
  • Businesses failed, factories closed
  • People were out of work
  • Even people with money suffered because nothing was being produced for sale.
  • Poor people lost their homes, were forced to “live off the land.”
racial segregation
Racial Segregation
  • Racial prejudice was alive & well. Although slavery had ended in 1864, old ideas were slow to change.
  • Despite that women were declared “equal” and given the right to vote in the 1920s, women were still viewed as the “weaker sex.”
  • Women were generally not educated for occupations outside the home
  • In wealthy families, women were expected to oversee the servants and entertain guests
  • Men were not considered capable of nurturing children
legal issues of the 1930s their impact on the novel s setting
Legal Issues of the 1930s & their impact on the novel’s setting
  • 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
white trash
“White Trash”
  • Poor, uneducated white people who lived on “relief “
  • lowest social class, even below the poor blacks
  • prejudiced against black people
  • felt the need to “put down” blacks in order to elevate themselves
prejudice discrimination in to kill a mockingbird
Prejudice/Discrimination in To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Handicaps
  • Rich/Poor
  • Age
  • Religion
to kill a mockingbird characters
To Kill a Mockingbird - Characters
  • Atticus Finch - an attorney whose wife has died, leaving him to raise their two children:
  • Jem– 10-year-old boy
  • Scout – (Jean Louise), 6-year-old girl
  • Tom Robinson – a black man accused of raping white girl; he is defended at trial by Atticus
to kill a mockingbird point of view
To Kill a Mockingbird – Point of View
  • First person narration
  • The story is not told by the younger Scout Finch. It is told by an older Scout, looking back. However, the point of view is mostly a first-person limited one; that is, limited to the knowledge of the younger Scout.
  • In this way, the narration presents a sort of “doubled” perspective on the events.
  • Why would the author choose topresent a first-person limited pointof view, rather than an omniscientone? What advantage is there tousing the first-person limited?
to kill a mockingbird themes
To Kill a Mockingbird – Themes


Theme is the controlling idea, meaning, or message of a work of art.

  • Themes in the novel are based on the concept of racial prejudice which was so much a part of society at that time:
  • Lee stresses the need for human understanding to destroy theevils off racial prejudice..
autobiographical elements harper lee vs scout finch
Autobiographical Elements – Harper Lee vs. Scout Finch

Scout Finch:

  • Born & raised in Alabama
  • Grew up in 1930s
  • Father was a lawyer
  • Last name is Finch

Harper Lee:

  • Born & raised in Alabama
  • Grew up in 1930s
  • Father was a lawyer
  • Mother’s maiden name = Finch

While the story is fictional, there are elements of it that are undeniably autobiographical.

keep in mind while reading
Keep in mind while reading…
  • 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
  • “Goodness vs. Ignorance (Evil)” is an important theme