Objective: To understand how setting and atmosphere contribute to the novel
Setting • Maycomb is a microcosm of American society in the 1930s. It is wrapped up in its own problems. • Many of the characters are very insular, wanting to protect what they have got, both in terms of wealth and social status. • They are afraid of change and of the effect it might have on their lives. • Many families have lived in the same area for several generations.
Atticus is trying to change views which are deeply ingrained. He is aware of the difficulty of doing so, but will not give up. • In spite of the negative outcome of Tom Robinsons trial, characters like Miss Maudie, Jem and Scout provide hope for the future, as do other characters such as Dolphus Raymond and Link Deas.
Setting- DIY! Read the following extracts and analyse them: We will do the first one together. Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop, grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square... Ladies bathed before noon, after their three o’ clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft tea-cakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.
People moved slowly then. They ambled across the square, shuffled in and out of the stores around it, took their time about everything. A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer. There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County. But it was a time of vague optimism for some of the people; Maycomb County had recently been told that there was nothing to fear but fear itself.
How does the writer use description to create a sense of place? • Harper Lee shows the reader that Maycomb is poor and run down. How? • ‘tired old town’ • ‘the court house sagged in the square’ • ‘there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with’ • ‘A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer’
Setting- The Radley Place The Radley place jutted into a sharp curve beyond our house. Walking south, one faced its porch; the sidewalk turned and ran beside the lot. The house was low, was once white with a deep front porch and green shutters, but had long ago darkened to the colour of the slate-grey yard around it. Rain-rotten shingles drooped over the eaves of the veranda; oak trees kept the sun away. The remains of a picket drunkenly guarded the front yard.
Setting – The Negro Cemetery The churchyard was brick-hard clay, as was the cemetery beside it. If someone died during a dry spell the body was covered with chunks of ice until rain softened the earth. A few graves in the cemetery were marked with crumbling tombstones; newer ones were outlined with brightly coloured glass and broken Coca-Cola bottles. Lightening rods guarding some graves denoted dead who rested uneasily; stumps of burned out candles stood at the heads of infant graves. It was a happy cemetery.
Setting- The Ewells’ House Maycomb’s Ewells lived behind the town garbage dump in what was once a negro cabin. The cabin’s plank walls were supplemented with sheets of corrugated iron, its roof shingled with tin cans hammered flat... Square, with four tiny rooms opening on to a shotgun hall, the cabin rested uneasily upon four irregular lumps of limestone. Its windows were merely open spaces in the walls, which in the summer-time were covered with greasy strips of cheese-cloth to keep out the varmints that feasted on Maycomb’s refuse.
Setting- The Negro Settlement A dirt road ran from the highway past the dump, down to a small Negro settlement some five hundred yards beyond the Ewells’. It was necessary either to back out to the highway or go the full length of the road and turn around; most people turned around on the Negroes’ front yards. In the frosty December dusk, their cabins looked neat and snug with pale smoke rising from the chimneys and doorways glowing amber from the fires inside. There were delicious smells about...
Atmosphere Then I saw the shadow. It was the shadow of a man with a hat on. At first I thought it was a tree, but there was no wind blowing, and tree trunks never walked. The black porch was bathed in moonlight, and the shadow, crisp as toast, moved across the porch towards Jem. Dill saw it next. He put his hands to his face. When it crossed Jem, Jem saw it. He put his arms over his head and went rigid. The shadow stopped about a foot beyond Jem. Its arm came out from its side , dropped and was still.
Atmosphere The south side of the square was deserted. Giant monkey- puzzle bushes bristled on each corner, and between them an iron hitching rail glistened under the streetlights. A light shone in the county toilet, otherwise that side of the court-house was dark. A larger square of stores surrounded the court- house square, dim lights burned from deep within them
Objective: To understand the theme of ‘growing up’ and its significance to the novel. • Key extracts: Chapters 1-11
As a starter today, I would like you each to write into your exercise books a key moment in your own life when you have realised that you are growing up. Then I would like you to consider the novel, and give an example of how growing up is shown. You have 5 minutes Feedback
What is growing up, then? • A steep learning curve • ‘To become an adult’ (OED) • Is it just a physical phenomenon? • It is also about learning lessons in life. • Innocence to experience- William Blake- The contrary states of the human soul. • Teacherly bit coming on........ • Blake believed in the innocence of children and recognised that life lessons (and education!) ruined this- children were pure until polluted by the realities of life • Are life lessons
Innocence v Experience • When my mother died I was very young,And my father sold me while yet my tongueCould scarcely cry 'weep! 'weep! 'weep! 'weep!So your chimneys I sweep, and in soot I sleep.And by came an angel who had a bright key,And he opened the coffins and set them all free;Then down a green plain leaping, laughing, they run,And wash in a river, and shine in the sun.Then naked and white, all their bags left behind,They rise upon clouds and sport in the wind;And the angel told Tom, if he'd be a good boy,He'd have God for his father, and never want joy. A little black thing among the snow,Crying! 'weep! weep!' in notes of woe!'Where are thy father and mother? Say!' -'They are both gone up to the church to pray...... 'Because I was happy upon the heath,And smiled among the winter's snow,They clothed me in the clothes of death,And taught me to sing the notes of woe...... 'And because I am happy and dance and sing,They think they have done me no injury,And are gone to praise God and His priest and king,Who made up a heaven of our misery.
Life lessons. Scout. • Experienced voice reflecting on innocence of children- a life in reverse • Scout’s innocence is manifest as she often does not understand what is happening e.g at the jailhouse. Jem • Jem matures with a rapidity not shared by Scout- I feel this shows his sensitivity to the world around him. This also shows the differences in ages. • Scout comments upon Jem’s physical growth. We get a great impression of Jem through the child Scout’s eyes and can perhaps read between the lines as mature observers.
Jem What lessons do you think Jem learns in the novel? How is he shown to be ‘growing up’? Consider: Varied meanings of growth, Jem’s experiences and the events and punishments of his formative years in Maycomb
Growing up quotes • Jem acquires ‘an alien set of values’ (Ch 12 p.127) • Jem breaks ‘the remaining code of our childhood’ (Ch 14, p.44)- turns into a supergrass! • Jem is called ‘Mister Jem by Cal (Ch 12 p.127) However!!! He is still a little boy when he ‘walks like an Egyptian’, he cannot deal with the comments of Mrs Dubose as an adult and reacts with the rage of an upset child. Any more examples...?
Disaster • Objectives: • Understanding the events of the fire • Preparing to write about the development of Scout and Jem during the opening scenes of the novel. Reading chapter 8 as a class please
Imagine you are Scout watching the fire. • How do you feel? • What is important about this scene? • Think about the advantage of using a child as the narrator.
Practice question How is growing up presented within the novel? Make reference to specific events within the text in your answer. This can be finished for homework. Set aside a realistic amount of time for this. Do not write pages and pages as this would be unrealistic during exam conditions. PLAN!!
The Rabid Dog Objective: To understand the significance of the shooting to the novel. To understand how Atticus contributes to the development of Jem and Scout. Read Chapter 10 as a class Look for the following: • Atticus’s attitude • The way others see Atticus (Changes?) • The children’s reaction
How can the shooting of Tim Johnson be interpreted? • Is it symbolic of racism? If so, why? • How and why is the incident significant to our/the children's impression of Atticus? Find and annotate quotes to corroborate your answer. • What/who else can you relate the incident to? What else can it be symbolic of?
Key quote. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy . . . but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” Discuss!
- What does Atticus teach them? • - What important experiences do they have? • - How are they changing?
Lesson 7Mrs Dubose et al. Objective: To explore the significance of minor characters and their contribution to the key themes of the novel
? ‘She was horrible. Her face was the colour of a dirty pillow-case, and the corners of her mouth glistened with wet, which inched like a glacier down the deep grooves enclosing her chin. Old-age liver spots dotted her cheeks, and her pale eyes had black pin-point pupils. Her hands were knobbly, and the cuticles were grown up over her finger-nails. Her bottom plate was not in, and her upper lip protruded; from time to time she would draw her nether lip to her upper plate and carry her chin with it. This made the wet move faster.’ (pp112-113) • Responses? • What figurative devices? • Is Harper Lee forcing us to judge Mrs Dubose?
Questions • What do we learn of Mrs Dubose? • Why does Jem massacre the Camelias? • Why does Mrs Dubose make Jem read to her? • When Atticus says ‘ I wanted you to see what real courage is instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand’, what does he mean? 1o minutes. Bullet points. Silence.
For the rest of the lesson! • Miss Maudie • Calpurnia • Aunt Alexandra • Dolphus Raymond. • In groups, provide the rest of the class with a character profile. On the laptops, prepare a short presentation for the rest of the class on your character. Consider: what they do and what part they play in the novel. Why are they significant? Any quotes would be useful! Save to public area, we only have this lesson!
Miss Maudie Reinforces Atticus’ philosophy on life- she, like him, represents the voice of reason in a world of prejudice and hypocrisy She is a sensible role model for Scout, and to an extent makes an impact upon the community in which she lives, despite her existence in a patriarchal and divided society. She acts as an ‘illuminator’- she often sheds light onto matters (and characters!) that the children cannot truly understand. Lee uses her as the holder of the puzzle pieces- she often slots things in to place She acts as a vehicle for Lee to explore the role of women and issues of Christian compassion/hypocrisy
Maudie quotes ‘A chameleon lady’ (47) ‘She loved everything that grew in God’s earth, even the weeds’ (47) ‘She had an acid tongue in her head’ (49) ‘”There are some [...] who are so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to live in this one’” (50)
In a paragraph, sum them up. • I would like you to compare Maudie with Mrs Dubose. We get a great deal of information about Maudie from the fire. This can be completed for homework if time does not permit in class.
Tying up the loose ends • Do we have any presentations that are unfinished? • What is the significance of the minor characters in the novel? • How do Mrs Dubose and Miss Maudie compare? Can you consider why it is beneficial to have such contrasting examples in a novel?
You may want to think about these characters too!! • Mayella • Heck • Lu la • Grace Merriweather Let us read about Dolphus Raymond as a class and get the mark of the man. Page 220
The Mockingbird MotifObjective: To understand the term motif and evaluate the effectiveness of motifs and symbols. • The mockingbird is a strong symbol in the novel • Its repeated image alludes to a creature of innocence. Can you think of any instances when this is mentioned? • It is associated with Boo and Tom most obviously, as they are both victims of their society • Who else could be referred to as a mockingbird?
What’s in a name? • The first half of the word is also significant. • The children effectively mock and mimic Boo in their games • Mayella believes that Atticus of mocking her in the courtroom • The trial in itself is a mockery of justice and also of the American notion of Land of the Free
Alternative interpretations • The mockingbird imitates other birds- it copies and effectively follows the lead of others. Does this refer to how communities follow the majority in terms of judgement and prejudice? • OR is it entirely positive in the sense that the example of Atticus is one that should be imitated. Discuss.
Other symbols • The dilapidated Radley house- symbolic of a fractured and broken family whose beliefs and ideas are outdated and from the past • The tree- a solid symbol of hope and friendship that enables communication • The gun- a symbol of both power AND cowardice • The snowman (morphodite)- the superficiality of colour- a man is a man. • Camelias- symbolic of a deep rooted prejudice
Exam practice.To what extent do you consider an understanding of Maycomb society to be crucial to our understanding of events in the novel as a whole? • Understanding – D • Insight – C • Analysis – B • Analysis and Interpretation – A/A*
Creating a Guide • Summary of the story. • Context and background. • Information on key characters. • Summary of important scenes with page numbers. • List of key quotes with page numbers.
Key Events • These are key events in Scout and Jem’s early years. • Put them in order of importance.