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Harper Lee • Born in Monroeville, AL in 1926 • Descendent of Robert E. Lee, famous Confederate War General • Father was a former newspaper editor and proprietor, who had served as a state senator and practiced as a lawyer in Monroeville
Coming of Age • TKAM is a coming of age story • It covers the time in Scout Finch’s life as a young girl growing up in Maycomb, Alabama during the 1930’s • Coming of age novels focus on a character’s growth and development into an adult • Some famous examples include • Can you think of some examples?
TKAM • TKAM has two major plot lines • The story of Boo Radley, a neighborhood recluse surrounded in mystery and urban legend • The story of Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a young white woman
Historical Fiction • Based on historical events or during a specific historic time period • TKAM shares many parallels with Harper Lee’s life • Let’s take a look at some of the autobiographical elements
Lee’s Childhood Grew up in 1930’s in a rural southern Alabama town. Father (Amasa Lee) was an attorney who served in state legislature Scout Finch’s Childhood Grew up in 1930’s in a rural southern Alabama town. Father (Atticus Finch) was an attorney who served in state legislature. Autobiographical Elements in TKAM
Lee’s Childhood Older brother and young neighbor (Truman Capote) are playmates. Avid reader as a child 6 years old when Scottsboro Trials were covered in state and local newspapers. Finch’s Childhood Older brother and young neighbor (Dill) are playmates. Scout can read at a young age 6 years old when trial of Tom Robinson takes place. Elements Continued
Scottsboro Nine • On March 25, 1931, a freight train stopped in a small Southern town of Paint Rock, Alabama • Nine black men were arrested after two white women accused them of rape • One was under age and the other was a known prostitute • The prostitute was trying to avoid being arrested for illegal transportation of a minor with the intent of solicitation.
Historical Background:The Great Depression • Story takes place from the summer of 1933-Halloween of 1935. • During this time, millions of people had lost their jobs, their homes, and everything important to them. • This lead to even greater racial tension as people competed for any job available.
History Continued • Because of the increased racial tension, incidents of lynchings became more frequent. • Lynching: the murder of a person by a group of people who set themselves up as judge, jury, and executioner outside the legal system.
Literary Techniques in the Novel • Imagery • Irony • Symbolism
Mockingbird: representative of a harmless person. The mad dog The tree house The Camellias The gun The cemented hole in the tree Columns on buildings Atticus’ pocket watch Symbols to Watch for
The Nature of the Hero: How does courage work in the lives of Atticus, Scout, and Tom Robinson? The Family Invisibility: Who in the novel is invisible? Violence Themes in the Novel
Maturing and Growing up Bridges: could be between people, races, etc Impact of Language: How does the word choice fit into our addressing of the key issues in the novel? Themes Continued
Issues in Reading the Novel • The very issues that make this book hard to teach are the opportunities to “heal” wounds and scars that have long remained unaddressed. • What does this mean?
Narration in the Novel • The novel uses a first person narrator (Scout). This narrator is an adult, looking back at childhood, much like the narrator in “A Christmas Memory” (Truman Capote). • This allows for the narrator to give information that the child could not have known/understood during her childhood.