To Kill A Mockingbird 2

 Set
in the fictional Maycomb, Alabama in
the 1930s Depression in the US
 Alabama
 The
was renowned for its racial
South had a historical legacy of
slavery, lynch mobs, the Ku Klux Klan and
legal unfairness towards blacks known as
Jim Crow laws
A worldwide economic downturn starting in America
with a major stock market crash on 29th October 1929
which became known as Black Tuesday.
 Many shares suddenly became worthless and poverty
swept the country.
 The public lost confidence in the economy and
spending levels decreased.
 This resulted in drastically falling production levels
and drastically rising unemployment.
The Great Depression sweeps
the nation – Many families do
not even have money for basic
needs such as food, clothing,
and shelter.
The per capita income for
families in Alabama (and
Oklahoma) is $125 - $250 a year
(£750 in today’s money)
Many southern blacks pick
cotton for a living
Franklin D. Roosevelt is
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
Separate schools
No interracial marriages
Segregated water fountains
Segregated theatres
All juries had to be white and
Race Relations – the deeply racist White South
• Nine black teenagers are falsely charged with raping two white
women in Scottsboro, Alabama; eight are convicted and sentenced to
• The U.S. Supreme Court reverses their convictions because their
constitutional rights had been violated
• The teens are tried for a second time, and are again found guilty
• The Supreme Court reverses the convictions again
• Eventually, four of the defendants are freed; the other five serve prison
• The last Scottsboro defendant was paroled in 1950
• It was virtually impossible for a black to receive a fair trial
 Prejudice
 Loss
of childhood innocence
 Importance
 Social
of education (esp.moral)
 Courage
 Complete
the TKAM questions you
started at the beginning of the year for
next week.
 Told
by Scout looking back on her
childhood and the adult world of Maycomb
and the novel is shown through her eyes.
 Two
narratives – one following the
children’s relationship with Boo Radley and
the other following Atticus’ defence of Tom
Robinson. These are brought together at the
end – the story comes full circle and we
understand how Jem breaks his elbow.
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
Country Folk
"White Trash"
Examples of each social class:
Wealthy - Finches
Country Folk - Cunninghams
“White Trash” – Ewells
Black Community – Tom Robinson
 Maycomb
functions as a microcosm of
American society.
 Lee
spends the first part of the novel
detailing the world of the novel and its
social milieu without which the reader
would not understand the context of the
trial which dominates the second part of
the novel.
In groups discuss your first day at primary school –
what similarities are there with TKAM?
Scout – Cunninghams are poor
Scout encounters hypocrisy and racism
Scout – fighter – lynch mob + Jem
Atticus’ advice – Chap 9
Grows up – changing attitudes to Boo Radley after
encountering the real evil of Bob Ewell
The story’s narrator – intelligent and thoughtful
Although now an adult, Scout looks back at her childhood and
tells of the momentous events and influential people of those
Tomboy – this sets her up as an unusual character in the prim
world on Maycomb where women are expected to be ladylike –
Aunt Alexandra shows her the value of this without
compromising her values.
She is a product of her unconventional upbringing by Atticus.
The novel follows the development of her conscience and
understanding of good and evil - unlike Tom Robinson and Boo
Radley, she is not destroyed by her encounters with evil.
Her parallel character is Dill – and her education and her moral
courage set her up as a sharp contrast to Mayella Ewell –
Mayella is a a foil to Scout.
 Choose
a character from “To Kill a
Mockingbird and explain what their role
is and what they learn over the course of
the novel.
 Focus
on chapters 1-11!
Constant, principled and decent figure – like Mr
Cunningham but his education sets him apart.
Single parent in his 50s
Would have seemed very modern to a 1960s readership
A man of courage – fights prejudice. Embodies themes of
the novel.
Flaw? – An idealist?
Beliefs in not harming a “mockingbird” and walking in the
shoes of others are central to the novel.
Foil = Bob Ewell
Atticus is scorned in Maycomb for defending Tom
Robinson – a sign of the times – but his moral
courage makes him admired following this.
Recognises good and evil in people and teaches
sympathy for others to his children.
Able to reconcile his honesty and principles with a
love for the people of Maycomb.
The children view him as old and “feeble” but the
incident with the mad dog shows Atticus’ strength
under pressure.
 "Thank
you from the bottom of my heart, but I
don't want my boy starting out with something
like this over his head. Best way to clear the
air is to have it all out in the open. Let the
county come and bring sandwiches. I don't
want him growing up with a whisper about
him, I don't want anybody saying, 'Jem Finch...
his daddy paid a mint to get him out of that.'
Sooner we get this over with the better."
 Examine
the ways in which Atticus Finch
is the hero of “To Kill A Mockingbird”
To his children
 To
Tom Robinson and the black
 To
wider society (what values does he
have we can all admire?)
 The
Mockingbird: Symbolizes
Everything That is Good and innocent
but attacked by evil
• The mockingbird only sings to please others and
therefore it is considered a sin to shoot a
mockingbird. They are considered harmless
creatures who give joy with their song.
• “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but . . . sing
their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a
mockingbird.” - Miss Maudie - Chap 10
After Tom Robinson is shot, Mr. Underwood compares his
death to “the senseless slaughter of songbirds,” - Chap 25
At the end of the book Scout thinks that hurting Boo Radley
would be like “shootin’ a mockingbird.” - Chap 30
That Jem and Scout’s last name is Finch (another type of
small bird) indicates that they are particularly vulnerable in
the racist world of Maycomb, which often treats the fragile
innocence of childhood harshly.
Atticus said to Jem one day, "I'd rather you shot at tin cans in
the back yard, but I know you'll go after birds. Shoot all the
bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin
to kill a mockingbird."
Isolated from its community and the neighbourhood
Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a
man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just
standing on the Radley porch was enough. Chap 31
In many ways symbolises the prejudice of the community.
Until Scout stands on the porch and puts herself literally in
Boo’s line of vision, she cannot truly understand him.
 The
dog can be seen to represent evil
and lawlessness.
 Atticus
shoots the dog dead, as he stops
the lynch mob, calmly and coolly.
 Scout
expects the same thing to happen
when watching the jury return to give
their verdict.
The feeling grew until the atmosphere in the
courtroom was exactly the same as a cold
February morning, when the mockingbirds were
still, and the carpenters had stopped hammering
on Miss Maudie's new house, and every wood door
in the neighborhood was shut as tight as the doors
of the Radley Place. A deserted, waiting, empty
street, and the courtroom was packed with people.
A steaming summer night was no different from a
winter morning. […]. I expected Mr. Tate to say any
minute, "Take him, Mr. Finch...." Chap 21
Bildungsroman – coming of age story
Social stratification – rigid class structure
Aphorism – pithy one liner such as
“Cunninghams always pay their debts”
Epiphany – moment of realisation (such as
when Scout is standing on the Radleys’
Incongruous – not in harmony, out of place
Part of Harper Lee’s style is her use of humour
when dealing with the serious subject matter of
This fits in with the narrative style as the story is
told through Scout’s eyes, giving a childlike
playfulness to the story.
Satire = when human vices are held up to be
scorned in a humorous or ironic way.
Perhaps a link to the title? Lee is mocking
education, small-town America and racists.
 In
Chapters 23-25, the author is attacking
and ridiculing the mindset of a group of
people. However, Harper Lee doesn’t
have Scout say that these individuals are
stupid, prejudiced or hypocritical; Scout
simply repeats what they say, and, from
the context of the whole story, the reader
knows that the narrator is speaking with
an ironic tone.
Scout and Miss Caroline – Scout is chastised for being too
educated: "We don't write in the first grade, we print. You won't
learn to write until you're in the third grade"
Aunt Alexandra and class - she is the contrast to Atticus - she is
unable to look past family traits and see the positive traits in
families such as the Cunninghams – consider her horror at Scout
and Jem bringing home Walter Cunningham – her clashes with
Scout over the need to be a lady bring humour to the novel
- Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on the subject of my attire. I could not
possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches; when I said I could do
nothing in a dress, she said I wasn't supposed to be doing things that
required pants. Aunt Alexandra's vision of my deportment involved
playing with small stoves, tea sets, and wearing the Add-A-Pearl
necklace she gave me when I was born; furthermore, I should be a
ray of sunshine in my father's lonely life. Chap 9
The missionary circle – the concern for the poverty of the
Mrunas yet ignore the poverty in their own town.
Miss Merriweather’s lack of insight about her black servants
and how reliant she is on them. Plus she congratulates
herself on her religious values, despite her apparent lack of
Christian ethics "I tell you, Gertrude, you never ought to let
an opportunity go by to witness for the Lord."
Miss Gates and Hitler (Chap 26)
“We are a democracy and Germany is a dictatorship.
Dictator-ship,” she said. “Over here we don’t believe in
persecuting anybody.” – compared to her comments on
black people following Tom’s trial - “it’s time somebody
taught ‘em a lesson, they were gettin’ way above themselves,
an’ the next thing they think they can do is marry us.”
Used by Lee to build suspense, and to emphasise
Scout’s childlike innocence.
E.g. When the reader knows, unlike Scout and Jem,
what the lynch mob’s true intentions are and these
appear more sinister as a result of the dramatic irony.
Atticus being unaware that Jem and Scout are
watching the trial.
Scout being unaware of the implications of the
conversation between Heck Tate and Atticus
following Bob Ewell’s death.
 Think
about the story of the snowman in
TKAM, Jem and Mrs Dubose’s flowers and
the incident with the mad dog.
 What
do you think it represents?
 Allegory
is a story which also functions
on a symbolic level.
Jem’s broken arm
Burris Ewell
The snowman
The fire – which melts the snowman
The mad dog
Presents in the tree/Boo puts a blanket around Scout
“It was Miss Stephanie’s pleasure to tell us: this morning Bob Ewell
stopped Atticus on the post office corner, spat in his face, and told him
he’d get him if it took the rest of his life” – Bob Ewell makes his intentions
“Thus began our longest journey together” /“This was the stillness before
a thunderstorm”as Scout and Jem walk home before being attacked by
Bob Ewell. The mockingbird also sings.
 This
will change depending on where we
are in the novel but some good words to
use to describe the tone are:
 Nostalgic/ironic/naive/remiscient/child-
 The
tone will become more
suspenseful/tense towards the climax(the
verdict of Tom Robinson’s trial).
(protagonist and
Plot (and subplot)
Use of language/dialogue
(character’s accents etc)
Narrative style
(P)Lee is convincing in her use of the literary convention of the bildungsroman which
brings to life the novel’s central concern that childhood innocence must give way to
adult realism. Following the trial, Jem angrily questions Atticus as to why the adults
show an apparent lack of emotion to the unfairness of Tom Robinson’s conviction to
which Atticus responds in a way that echoes this theme(E) “I don't know, but they did
it. They've done it before and they did it tonight and they'll do it again and when they
do it – seems that only children weep. Good night." It becomes apparent in that
moment that the townspeople leave the courtroom in a “cheerful” manner that part of
Jem’s childhood innocence is destroyed as he has been faced by the ugly, casual
racism and callousness of the community he lives in. (A) By his use of the parallel
sentence structure and repetition here Lee uses the character of Atticus to
emphasise the cyclical nature of racism – that the ignorance of the community has
become so entrenched it has become second-nature. Lee uses Jem’s sense of outrage
to mirror that of the reader’s at this point, and contrasts this with Atticus’ resignation
that “They’ll do it again” which resonates with the reader. Tom Robinson is not an
isolated case, his treatment o is symptomatic of a society that fails to meet the basic
American ideals of equality and is happy in its ignorance. In the context of the novel,
Jem’s experience clearly highlights the human condition itself, which can be
summed up as the passage from innocence to experience. (R) It is only when the
children have seen injustice that they accept life is not always fair. Lee leaves the
reader pondering the fact that is not enough to close our eyes to injustice and
racism, we must address it or risk becoming one of the ignorant townspeople of
 Choose
a novel in which a main character is
seen to grow or mature in the course of the
 Show
how the novelist engages your interest
in the character and his or her
 In
your answer you must refer closely to the
text and to at least two of: characterisation,
narrative point of view, key incident(s),
structure or any other appropriate feature.
 Choose
a novel which slowly reveals the
strengths of the main character.
 Show
how the writer achieves the
revelation and go on to demonstrate how
it contributes to the overall theme of the
 Choose
a novel, set in a time different
from your own, with a theme relevant to
the world today.
 Show
how you are led to an appreciation
of the theme’s continuing relevance,
despite its setting in time.
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