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Take out a sheet of notebook paper and be ready to take Cornell Notes on the history and background of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird . - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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November 26, 2012. Take out a sheet of notebook paper and be ready to take Cornell Notes on the history and background of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird . To Kill a Mockingbird. Harper Lee. Wrote To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960

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Take out a sheet of notebook paper and be ready to take Cornell Notes on the history and background of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird .

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November 26, 2012

Take out a sheet of notebook paper and be ready to take Cornell Notes on the history and background of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird.

To Kill a


Harper Lee

  • Wrote To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960

  • Based the story on her life growing up in Monroeville, Alabama

  • TKAM was the only novel she ever wrote

  • In 1962 the novel was turned into a film starring Gregory Peck.

  • It received a humanitarian award and several Academy Award nominations.

To Kill a


  • Focuses on the people, attitudes, and laws of the South during this time period.

  • The plot of TKAM reflected Lee’s own childhood in Alabama and was greatly influenced by the training she received in law school.

About the Novel

  • Told in flashback

  • 2 story lines – each with itsown climax

  • First-person point of view

  • Bildungsroman - a novel about the moral and psychological growth of the main character


  • Covers approx. 3 years




Point of View

  • Jean Louise Finch

  • (Scout)

  • Narrator switches perspectives from a six year-old girl to one with the wisdom of an adult looking back.

The Narrator

Social Class in the Novel

This is probably similar to how class structure existed during the 1930’s in the South. The wealthy, although fewest in number, were most powerful. The blacks, although great in number, were lowest on the class ladder, and thus, had the least privileges.

Examples of each social class:

Wealthy - Finches

Country Folk - Cunninghams

“White Trash” – Ewells

Black Community – Tom Robinson

Prejudice in Maycomb County, Alabama, 1930’s

“Now gentlemen, in this country our courts are the great levelers, and in our courts all men are created equal. I'm no idealist to believe firmly in the integrity of our courts and of our jury system. That's no ideal to me. That is a living, working reality.”

-Atticus to the jury

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

  • Language of Scout switches from childhood to adulthood

  • Atticus always uses formal speech

  • Calpurnia uses “white language” in the Finch house and switches to “black jargon” when amidst blacks

  • The Ewell’s use foul words and obscenities

  • Jem, Scout, and Dill will use slang words, typical of their age

  • Tom Robinson uses language typical of the southern black such as “suh” for “sir” and “chillun” for “children”

  • Various derogatory terms for blacks will be used – Lee uses such language to keep her novel naturally in sync with common language of the times



  • Somber

  • Serious

  • Humorous (at times)


Gothic Details

Depictions of a small-town life



  • Tomboy

  • Impulsive

  • Emotional

  • Warm & Friendly

  • Sensitive

  • Adorable

  • Gains in Maturity throughout the Novel


  • Widower/Father of Scout & Jem

  • An attorney by profession

  • Highly respected

  • Good citizen

  • Instills good values and morals in

    his children.

  • His children call him “Atticus”

  • Honest, Brave & Courteous

  • Typical southern gentleman

  • Soft-spoken

“You never really know a man until you crawl into his skin and walk around for awhile.” Atticus Finch


  • Scout’s older brother

  • Looks up to Atticus

  • Usually looks out for Scout

  • Typical older brother at times

  • Smart & Compassionate

  • Matures as the story progresses

  • Finch’s Housekeeper

  • Has watched the children since their mother’s death

  • Has been a positive influence on the children.


Arthur "Boo" Radley

  • An enigma (puzzling or contradictory character)

  • An adult man, whose father has “sentenced” him to a lifetime confinement to their house because of some mischief he got into when he was a teenager.

  • Has a reputation of being a lunatic

  • Basically a harmless, well-meaning person

  • Sometimes childlike in behavior

  • Starving for love and affection

  • Saves Jem and Scout from certain danger


  • Young, harmless, innocent, hardworking

  • Has a crippled left hand

  • Married with three children. Works on a farm belonging to Mr. Link Deas

  • Accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell



  • A close friend of Jem and Scout

  • Usually lives in Maycomb only during the summer

  • Tells “big stories”

  • Has been deprived of love and affection

  • The character of “Dill,” Scout and Jem’s playmate in the novel was based upon Lee’s actual neighbor, Truman Capote

  • Capote is famous for amongst other things, In Cold Blood and Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

  • It has been said that he gave Lee Mockingbird as a gift.

1930s Typical Morphine Addict:

White female

Middle-aged or older



Lives in the south

Property owner

Began using morphine for medical reasons (pain relief)

In “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the Finch children will become acquainted with a morphine addict. Although only a fictitious character, she personifies the American morphine addict of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Mrs. Henry Dubose

Poor white family


Honest & Proud

Survive on very little

Always pay back their debts – even if it is with hickory nuts, turnips, or holly.

Poor white trash

Dirty & Lazy

Never done a day’s work




Two Poor White Families:

The Cunningham’s








Would never take anything with paying it back


Had stronger character than most of the whites



Discriminated against

Talked about badly

Deserve better than what is dished out to them by society

The Black Community

Major Themes

  • Education is not limited to the classroom but is an important part of a person’s everyday life.

  • Prejudice is responsible for much social injustice.

  • People often fear what they do not understand.

Major Themes

  • Courage is doing what you think is right when the odds of succeeding are against you.

  • Maturation

  • Pride

The End

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