Context In To Kill A Mockingbird

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  • Created by: Rosie
  • Created on: 18-05-13 18:10


Slavery and Racial Inequality
Abolished in 1865, yet black inferiority was still the normality in most places.
Segregation/Jim Crow Laws
They mandated racial segregation in all public facilities in Southern states, with, starting in 1890, a "separate but equal" status for African Americans. The separation led to conditions for African Americans that tended to be inferior to those provided for white Americans.

The Scottsboro Trials
Nine black men accused of **** in 1931. The case included an all-white jury, rushed trials, an attempted lynching and an angry mob. It is an example of an overall miscarriage of justice.

Poor whites in the South blamed the blacks for their miseries, even though that hatred was misplaced. And with endemic poverty, competition for scarce money was fierce.

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The Great Depression and Wall St. Crash

This is what the general mood in America was during the period the book was set.

American Dream

Dill's Parents seemed to be living it.
The Wall St. Crash
Under President Hoover's time; Republican; 'Rugged Individualism'
29th of October 1929 - Black Tuesday.
Stock Markets and banks collapsed, many Americans bankrupt.
The Great Depression
Farmers in the South hit hardest due to overproduction of goods, Roosevelt became president in 1933 and released the 'New Deal'; this was not set up to specifically help Black Americans.

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The Civil War/Civil Rights Movement

This was the general mood whilst Lee was writing and when the book was first published.

Changing Attitudes
Many Americans - particuarly in the North of America believed in equal rights. Black activists like Martin Luther King began a series of peaceful protests including; bus boycotts and marches During the mid 50s.
Contoversial Youth
Dill, Scout and Jem would have been the youth born and raised in the 1930's who would grow to lead and represent the Civil rights movement and Civil war throughout the mid-to-late 50s and early 60s.
The Civil War
Bloody: 620 000 dead.
Northern States overwhelmed Southern in the end.

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Small-Town Deep-South Mentality

Family Tradition/Heritage
Very important, a big part of life. aunt Alexandra seems especially obsessive over this, and thinks the longer a family have been on a patch of land the higher their ranking in society.
Role Of a Woman
Women were allowed to vote but there wasn't equality in employment pay and oppertunities. there was still a stereotypical standard women had to meet to fit into society. Many women in small farming states didn't want more rights anyway.
Social Inequality
Anything out of the ordinary, or 'alien to Maycombs ways' was seen as a problem it was instantly judged and assumed to be bad news. An example of the effects of this is Boo Radley, the town prison and the Southern states reaction to the civil rights movement.

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Family Tradition/Heritage


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Role As A Woman


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Social and Racial

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To be filled in later

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The Scottsboro Trials

To Be filled in

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Paul Dutton


A very good guide which places the novel in its historical context.

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