To Kill A Mockingbird 4 Essay

1098 words - 4 pages

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD A novel by Harper Lee Harper Lee was born in 1926 in a small town in the southern state of Alabama. She was a lawyer's daughter, but she stated several times that To kill a mockingbird is not an autobio-graphical novel. It was written while Ms. Lee was working in New York, in the late fifties, and published in 1960. It became an instant success with both public and critics and won the author the Pulitzer Prize, the most important American literary award. It is still an in-ternational best-seller, with over thirty million copies sold. A successful film based on the novel was released, starring Gregory Peck as the lead character, for which role he received an Academy Award ('Oscar'). Harper Lee soon returned to Alabama, where she leads a solitary life, avoiding contact with media.The novel, written in the first-person form describes life in a small town in the American South (Maycomb County, Alabama) in the thirties, as seen through the eyes of the narra-tor, a young girl, Jean-Louise 'Scout' Finch. At the beginning, Scout is six years old. She is the daughter of the local lawyer, Atticus Finch, has a ten-year old brother, Jeremy ('Jem'), and is somewhat of a tomboy. Their mother died when Scout was two. Their servant Cal-purnia, a black lady, is treated as a member of the family. Atticus Finch is a proper gen-tleman and a most gentle father. Scout and Jem love and respect him very much. Scout is an intelligent and observant child. She reads newspapers and tends to discuss matters with her father as a grown-up. Still, due to the liberal and open-minded views of Atticus, Scout, and, to a lesser degree, Jem, the family doesn't fit well in the rural South, where racism and narrow-mindedness is the common attitude.One can actually say that the basic theme of the novel is the treatment of outcasts. Nearly all positive characters are outcasts in one way or another. The Finch family is too uncon-ventional. Scout hates being treated as a little lady. As she starts attending school, she can't stand the idea of wearing a dress, and her teacher considers it wrong that Scout al-ready can read and write. Scout and Jem have a good friend who pretends to have a rich father although he is an orphan living with this or other aunt in different places all the time. Their neighbour's son, Boo Radley, lives locked-up in a cellar. First time he is seen after many years is close to the end of the novel. Wild stories are told about him, crimes he had committed, but the simple truth is that Boo is a gentle retarded man, and his father was so ashamed of his disability that he locked him up. The Finch children and their friend are both deeply attracted to and afraid of the mystery of Boo Radley.All the black people are outcasts too. We are in the thirties, and racial segregation is con-sidered perfectly normal in every aspect of daily life in the South. Blacks are underprivi-leged - their children can't go to school, they attend their own churches and...

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