To Kill A Mockingbird Background Notes

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  • 1. To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
  • 2. Background Information
    • Author: Nelle Harper Lee (She is still alive and lives in Monroeville, AL.)
    • Time: Written in the mid-1950s during the height of the Civil Rights Movement; Published in 1960.
    • Setting: 1933-1935 in the fictional town of Maycomb, AL (based on Monroeville, AL); takes place during the Depression
  • 3. Background Information
    • The character of Atticus Finch is based on Harper Lee’s father.
    • The character of Dill is based on famous author Truman Capote, Lee’s childhood friend.
    • The character of Scout is loosely based on Harper Lee herself.
  • 4. Background Information
    • To Kill a Mockingbird has been named the #1 most teachable novel.
    • Harper Lee won the Pulitzer Prize for this book.
    • The book was once banned in schools and is often challenged today for its language and themes.
  • 5. Literary Terms
    • Genre- a category of literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content.
    • * Coming-of-age drama, Southern drama, courtroom drama
    • Narrator- the character in literature who tells the story from her/his point of view
    • * Scout/1 st person narration
    • Scout is looking back on her
    • childhood.
  • 6. Literary Terms
    • Tone- the attitude the author takes toward a subject or character
    • * Child-like and innocent in the beginning; dark and critical of society toward the middle
    • Imagery- descriptive details in writing that create an image in the reader’s mind
  • 7. Literary Terms
    • Protagonist- the principal character in a story who brings about change
    • * Scout Finch
    • Antagonist- the character who opposes change as well as the protagonist
    • * Bob Ewell
  • 8. Literary Terms
    • Motif- recurring element in a story, usually relates to a theme in the story
    • * Gothic details, small-town life
    • Symbol- an object or action that means something more than its literal meaning
    • * mockingbird, Boo Radley
  • 9. Literary Terms
    • Theme- the insight about life that an author wishes to express in a story
    • * prejudice (good vs. evil), courage (morality vs. society), growing up (innocence vs. ignorance ; child vs. adult)
    • Foreshadowing- the use of hints or clues to suggest what will happen later in the story
    • * the fire, the mad dog, presents in the knothole, Tom’s trial
  • 10. Ms. Ratliff as Scout