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To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee. Table of Contents. Harper Lee’s early years The 1930s “Deep South” Harper Lee’s adult years Civil Rights movement Writing To Kill A Mockingbird. Harper Lee’s Early Years. Born Nelle Harper Lee, spring 1926 Grew up in Monroeville, Alabama

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To Kill A Mockingbird

By Harper Lee

table of contents
Table of Contents
  • Harper Lee’s early years
  • The 1930s “Deep South”
  • Harper Lee’s adult years
  • Civil Rights movement
  • Writing To Kill A Mockingbird
harper lee s early years
Harper Lee’s Early Years
  • Born Nelle Harper Lee, spring 1926
  • Grew up in Monroeville, Alabama
  • Youngest of four children
  • Father: Amasa Coleman Lee
  • Mother: Frances Finch Lee
  • Father: practiced law in Monroeville
  • Father: editor of The Monroe Journal


  • Personality
  • Childhood friend
harper lee s family
Harper Lee’s Family
  • Position in the community
  • Responsibility for the community
  • Alice Lee
alice lee
Alice Lee

“Alice Lee has been a Rock of Gibraltar for this commission,'' said Armistead Harper, a 21-year member of the commission. "She has guided this board with her wisdom, fairness and intelligence. When we needed proper guidance for Monroeville, we got it from Alice Lee,” Harper said. “Because of her knowledge of the historic background of Monroeville and her legal background, she could recognize problems we would face and find a fair solution.”

father and daughter


Father and Daughter

“It was my plan for her to become a member of our law firm – but it just wasn’t meant to be. She went to New York to be a writer.” —Amasa Lee, 1961

Single click speaker to hear audio clip >>>>

harper lee s adult years
Harper Lee’s Adult Years
  • Attended Huntingdon College
  • Attended the University of Alabama to study law

University Years

  • Worked for student publications
  • Editor of Rammer- Jammer
  • Attended Oxford University
1950 1957
  • Worked for Eastern Airlines in NYC
  • Pursued writing career full time in NYC
  • Wrote and submitted To Kill a Mockingbird
1957 1959
  • To Kill A Mockingbird manuscript rejected
  • Research assistant for Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood
the writer emerges
The Writer Emerges!
  • Published To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Received Pulitzer Prize for novel
novel goes to the movies
Novel Goes to the Movies
  • Did not initially attract producers
  • Gregory Peck starred as Atticus Finch

Single click speaker to hear audio clip >>>>

additional writing
Additional Writing
  • Wrote essay “Love…In Other Words” for Vogue
  • Wrote essay “Christmas To Me” for McCall’s
  • Wrote essay “When Children Discover America” for McCall’s
national council of arts


National Council of Arts
  • Named to the National Council on the Arts in 1966
honorary doctorates
Honorary Doctorates
  • University of Alabama
  • Spring Hill College
  • Sewanee: The University of the South
  • University of Notre Dame
1930s statistics
1930s Statistics
  • Facts about the 1930s:
    • Population: 123,188,000 in 48 states
    • Life Expectancy: Male, 58:1; Female, 61:6
    • Average annual salary: $1,368
    • Unemployment rises to 25%
    • Car Sales: 2,787,400
    • Food Prices: Milk, 14 cents a qt.; Bread, 9 cents a loaf
    • Round Steak, 42 cents a pound
    • Lynchings: 21
social order
Social Order
  • Wealthy and educated
  • Working-class whites
  • Nonworking-class whites
  • African Americans
jim crow laws
Jim Crow Laws
  • Racial caste system
  • Perpetuated racism
the deep south
The Deep South
  • Social order
  • Jim Crow laws
  • Southern towns

Monroeville Demographics: 1930

Owner families: 1,925

Native white 1,242

Native parentage 1,241

Foreign or mixed parentage 1

Foreign-born white 3

Negro 677

Tenant families: 3,927

Native white 1,609

Native parentage 1,604

Foreign or mixed parentage 5

Foreign-born white 3

Negro 2,311

Tenure unknown 459

Farm families 4,426

Non-farm families 1,885

On March 25, 1931, a freight train was stopped in Paint Rock, Alabama

Nine young African American men arrested

Two white women accused men of raping them on the train

Scottsboro Trial

the scottsboro trial v tom robinson s trial

1930s event

Northern Alabama

The poor white status of accusers was important


1930s event

Southern Alabama

The poor white status of Mayella was important

The Scottsboro Trial v. Tom Robinson’s Trial
the scottsboro trial v tom robinson s trial1

James E. Horton, judge, over-turned the guilty jury verdict

All-white jury

The jury ignored evidence— that the women suffered no injuries, for example


Atticus, lawyer, defends the African-American man

All poor, white jury

The jury ignores evidence— that Tom has a useless left arm, for example


The Scottsboro Trial v. Tom Robinson’s Trial

Atticus and Tom

civil rights movement
Civil Rights Movement
  • Influenced Harper Lee
influence on harper lee
Influence on Harper Lee

Autherine Lucy

tries to attend

graduate school

Univ. of Alabama

  • The Law and Jim Crow
  • Civil Rights Movement
  • Events in Alabama

Martin Luther King’s

rise to leadership

Bus boycott

Montgomery, AL

timeline of events


Timeline of Events
  • 1954: Brown v. Topeka, Kansas Board of Education case
  • 1955: Young African American brutally murdered by whites
  • 1955: Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott
brown v board video
Brown v. Board Video

Single click screen to view video

timeline of events1
Timeline of Events

• 1956: Autherine Lucy first African American admitted to University of Alabama

• 1956: Autherine Lucy forced to flee University of Alabama campus

• University’s Board of Trustees barred her from campus

• 1957: Federal troops sent to Little Rock, Arkansas to protect nine African American students enter first integrated school

letter from a birmingham jail
“An unjust law is a code that a majority inflicts on a minority that is not binding on itself. This is difference made legal. On the other hand, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal.” —Martin Luther King, 1963 Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Single click speaker to hear audio clip >>>>

writing to kill a mockingbird
Writing To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Themes
  • Viewpoint
  • Characters
  • Major Conflicts
  • Moral nature of man
  • Innocence to experience
  • How children learn morality
  • Social inequality
  • Vulnerability of innocent
boo video
Boo Video

Single click screen to view video

point of view
Point of View
  • First person narrative through Scout
  • “When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. When it healed, and Jem’s fears of never being able to play football were assuaged, he was seldom self-conscious about his injury.”

Single click speaker to hear audio clip >>>>

town intro video
Town Intro Video

Single click screen to view video


Middle-Class Whites – The Finches



Cunningham Family

Non-Working Whites

The Ewell Family

African Americans

Tom Robinson, Calpurnia and Others

major characters
Major Characters

Jean Louise “Scout” Finch--The narrator and protagonist of the story

Atticus Finch--Scout and Jem’s father, a lawyer in Maycomb

Jeremy Atticus “Jem” Finch--Scout’s brother and constant playmate

Arthur “Boo” Radley-- A recluse who never sets foot outside his house

Bob Ewell--A drunken, mostly unemployed man

Charles Baker “Dill” Harris--Jem and Scout’s summer neighbor and friend

Calpurnia--The Finches’ black cook, Calpurnia is a stern disciplinarian

Tom Robinson--The black field hand accused of rape

Aunt Alexandra-- Atticus’ sister, a strong-willed woman with a fierce devotion to her family. Alexandra is the perfect Southern lady

Mayella Ewell--Bob Ewell’s abused, lonely, unhappy daughter

minor characters
Minor Characters

Mr. Dolphus Raymond--A wealthy white man who lives with his black mistress and mulatto children

Link Deas--Tom Robinson’s employer

Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose--An elderly, ill-tempered, racist woman who lives near the Finches

Mr. Underwood--The publisher of Maycomb’s newspaper

Walter Cunningham--Son of Mr. Walter Cunningham and classmate of Scout

Miss Maudie Atkinson--The Finches’ neighbor, a sharp-tongued widow, and an old friend of the family

Mr. Walter Cunningham--A poor farmer

harper lee v scout finch
She grew up in the 1930s in a rural Southern Alabama town.

Her father, Amasa Lee, is an attorney who served in the state legislature in Alabama.

Her older brother and young neighbor (Truman Capote) are playmates.

Harper Lee is an avid reader as a child.

She is six years old when the Scottsboro trials are widely covered in national, state and local newspapers.

She grew up in the 1930s in a rural Southern Alabama town.

Her father, Atticus Finch, is an attorney who served in the state legislature in Alabama.

Her older brother (Jem) and young neighbor (Dill) are playmates.

Scout reads before she enters school and reads the Mobile Register newspaper in first grade.

She is eight years old when the trial of Tom Robinson takes place.

Harper Lee v. Scout Finch
  • Person versus society
  • Person versus person
  • Person versus self

“What did your father see in the window, the crime of rape or the best defense to it? Why don’t you tell the truth, child, didn’t Bob Ewell beat you up?”

—Atticus Finch questioning Mayella on the witness stand

mayella video
Mayella Video

Single click screen to view video

harper lee s style
Harper Lee’s Style
  • Allusions
  • Idioms
  • Colloquial Language
  • Autobiographical
  • Symbolism

“nothing to fear

but fear itself”

Battle of Hastings


John Wesley

“Let the cup

pass from


Rosetta stone



Willam Jennings



Andrew Jackson




“get Miss Maudie’s


“walked on eggs”

“set my teeth

permanently on


“break camp”

“when the chips

are down”

“he had seen the


“looked daggers”

“blue in the face”

“into the limelight”


The Mockingbird

Tom Robinson

Boo Radley

mockingbird video
Mockingbird Video

Single click screen to view video

colloquial language
Colloquial Language

“Hush your mouth! Don’t matter who they are, anybody sets foot in this house’s yo’ comp’ny, and don’t you let me catch you remarkin’ on their ways like you was so high and mighty!” —Calpurnia

“I scurried to my room and went to bed. Uncle Jack was a prince of a fellow not to let me down. But I never figured out how Atticus knew I was listening, and it was not until many years later that I realized he wanted me to hear every word he said.” —Scout

“It ain’t honest but it’s mighty helpful to folks. Secretly, Miss Finch, I’m not much of a drinker, but you see they could never, never understand that I live like I do because that’s the way I want to live.” —Mr. Raymond

35 th anniversary of novel
35th Anniversary of Novel

“Please spare ‘Mockingbird’ an Introduction. As a reader I loathe Introductions. To novels I associate Introductions with long-gone authors and works that are brought back into print after decades of Interment… “Mockingbird” has never been out of print and I am still alive… It still says what it has to say; it has managed to survive the years without preamble.” —Harper Lee

Single click speaker to hear audio clip >>>>

harper lee an enigma
Harper Lee: An Enigma

“But I think we can learn a lot about her by reading To Kill A Mockingbird. To think it is more autobiographical than we realize… I suspect that she is Scout, that Atticus Finch is her father, and that her dear friend Truman Capote is Dill. That is probably all she wants us to know, and all we need to know.” —Judith Handschuh

in conclusion harper lee s legacy
In Conclusion: Harper Lee’s Legacy
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Gives us new appreciation for our childhood experiences
  • Shows us how one’s sense of right and wrong is learned
  • Allows us to experience destructiveness of hatred in society