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Harper Lee. Born April 28, 1926. About the author. Grew up in Monroeville, Alabama Her father, a lawyer and state legislator, was a descendant of General Robert E Lee Lee was an avid reader and from a young age wanted to become a writer. More About the Author.

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Harper lee

Harper Lee

Born April 28, 1926


About the author
About the author

  • Grew up in Monroeville, Alabama

  • Her father, a lawyer and state legislator, was a descendant of General Robert E Lee

  • Lee was an avid reader and from a young age wanted to become a writer


More about the author
More About the Author

  • Attended University of Alabama and later moved to NYC to pursue a writing career

  • After two years of writing and revising, To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960


About the novel
About the novel

  • To Kill a Mockingbird was an immediate success

  • Won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961

  • Voted best novel of the century by Library Journal in 1999


More about the novel
More About the Novel

  • 1991 survey by the Library of Congress asked readers to rank books that had made a significant difference in their lives. TKaM ranked second after the Bible.

  • TKaM is the only novel Lee ever published

  • For more than 40 years, Lee has declined to comment on her novel, letting it speak for itself


Style
Style

  • Coming of Age

    • Lee chose a form of fiction that explicitly deals with the main characters growing up and maturing.

  • Language

    • Lee employs colloquial language – esp. in the speech of the characters (dialogue) and in the descriptions of setting  


Style cont
Style Cont.

  • Narration

    • Double-layered narration is used. 

    • The older Scout explicitly tells the story at the outset of the novel and at its end. 

    • In the middle, the story is told from the perspective of Scout as a child. 

    • However, there are points in the novel where the two narrators are almost telling the story at the same time.


Style cont1
Style Cont.

  • Symbols

    • Lee employs several central symbols in the novel

      • Mockingbird

      • Snowman

      • Mad dog

      • Boo Radley

      • Clothing – esp. Scout’s clothes

      • Buildings


Themes
Themes

  • Race Relations

  • Growing up

  • Search for Identity

  • America divided

  • Justice vs. the Law 

  • History vs. the Present

  • Conformity vs. Individuality

  • Gender Roles

  • Stereotypes Exposed

  • Myths of Childhood


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