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“To Kill a Mockingbird”, Harper Lee


A book survey conducted by the Library of Congress in 1991 on readers rated To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee as one of the most influential books they ever read. The book that received the most citation was the Bible followed by To Kill a Mockingbird in second place (Fernando, 2012). The book was made into an Academy Award winning film and is a regular requirement for literature classes throughout the English-speaking world.

The novel’s first plot is centered on Arthur “Boo” Radley whereas the second plot focuses on Scout and Atticus Finch. In the former plot, Arthur is seen as a monster who lives a few blocks from where the Finches live. Scout and her friend Dill pull pranks on Arthur to make him come out of his shattered house (Lee, 1960). Conversely, Arthur becomes interested and sends the pair small gifts.

And at a critical moment, Arthur shows up when the two pranksters are in dire need of his help. In the latter plot, a local judge appoints Atticus Finch to be the lawyer for Tom Robinson. The accused man faces charges of rape against a white woman. Despite being falsely accused, Atticus believes that his client will lose the case. Yet, he takes up the case and at one point manages to save his client from a lynch mob (Lee, 1960).

The two plot lines intertwine with two broad themes of justice and tolerance. Other sub- themes that develop in the novel are prejudice, the effects of mob mentality, gender, war, roles, civil rights, and bravery. Lee uses Atticus to merge the two stories together. For instance, Atticus advices Scout that the only way she can understand Arthur is by putting herself in his shoes.

Here, tolerance is illustrated whereas justice is exhibited in his defense of Tom Robinson (Fernando, 2012). To Kill a Mockingbird derives its title by juxtaposing the immoral and unjust act of killing the mocking bird with the same immoral act of killing the innocent Tom Robinson.

Analysis of Characters

The book has major and minor characters. The major characters of the novel include Jean Scout, Jem, Atticus Finch, Arthur Boo Radley, Bob Ewell, and Tom Robinson. However, the main protagonist and narrator of the story is Jean Scout Finch. She narrates the events of the story as an adult, which took place when she …

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Biography of Harper Lee

American Author Nelle Harper Lee was born on April 28, 1926 to Frances Cunningham Finch Lee and Amasa Coleman Lee (Spencer, 2013) and was raised in Monroeville, Alabama. Her father was a lawyer by profession who served in the state legislature from 1927 to 1939. A tomboy by nature, Harper Lee was good friends with …

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Plot Summary

The plot of the novel is centered on Jean Scout Finch. Her family resides in Maycomb, a fictional Alabama town, and the novel takes place during the Great Depression. Despite this, the Finch family does quite well financially because her father Atticus Finch is a lawyer. He has many clients and is a hardworking man …

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Contributors Bio

Contributor photo Lona Glenn
Los Angeles
Lona graduated from Los Angeles City College. While being a lecturer in several high school institutions Lona founded an online educational project Tutorsclass.Read more
Contributor photo Maria Castle
Davis, CA
I studied education and currently work as a tutor for school-age children. I've worked as a volunteer in many different international social projects and as a camp counselor every summer.Read more

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