Introduction:To Kill a Mockingbird By HarperLee
SETTING OF THE NOVEL Southern United States 1930’s Great Depression Prejudice and legal segregation Ignorance
Southern Mentality Family values Hospitality Gossip
1930’s - Great Depression began when the stock market crashed in October, 1929 Businesses failed, factories closed People were out of work Even people with money suffered because nothing was being produced for sale. Poor people lost their homes, were forced to “live off the land.”
Social Class in the Novel 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 privileges. Examples of each social class: Wealthy - Finches Country Folk - Cunninghams “White Trash” – Ewells Black Community – Tom Robinson
Racial prejudice was alive & well. Although slavery had ended in 1864, old ideas were slow to change.
Gender Bias (Prejudice) Women were considered “weak” Women were generally not educated for occupations outside the home In wealthy families, women were expected to oversee the servants and entertain guests Men not considered capable of nurturing children
Legal Issues of the 1930’s which impact the story Women given the vote in 1920 Juries were MALE and WHITE “Fair trial” did not include acceptance of a black man’s word against a white man’s
Legal Segregation in Alabama, 1923-1940 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 convicts Separate schools No interracial marriages Segregated water fountains Segregated theatres
Prejudice in the novel Race Gender Handicaps Rich/Poor Age Religion
Language Sometimes the language of Scout will be that of her as a child; other times, she will be speaking in the voice of an adult Atticus uses formal speech Calpurnia uses “white language” in the Finch house and switches to “black jargon” when amidst blacks The Ewells use foul words and obscenities Jem, Scout, and Dill will use slang words, typical of their age Tom Robinson uses language typical of the southern black such as “suh” for “sir” and “chillun” for “children” Various derogatory terms for blacks will be used such as “nigger,” “darky,” “Negroes,” and “colored folk” – Lee uses such language to keep her novel naturally in sync with common language of the times
Reading Notes While you are reading, take notes on the following five topics: Injustice Jem and Scout growing up Words of Wisdom Conflict Family relations
"Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."