To Kill a Mockingbird

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The Economic Depression

  • FOLLOWED THE WALL STREET CRASH IN 1929, POVERTY BEGAN
  • PRESIDENT ROOSERVELT MADE SEVERAL ATTEMPTS AT ECONOMIC RECOVERY
  • AFTER NATIONAL RECOVERY ACT, PRESIDENT TOLD PEOPLE - "THEY HAD NOTHING TO FEAR BUT FEAR ITSELF"
  • IT TOOK TIME FOR PEOPLE'S SUFFERING AND HARDSHIP TO SUBSIDE
  • THE CRASH HIT FARMERS LIKE THE CUNNINGHAM'S THE MOST
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The Civil War and The Civil Rights Movement

  • ABOLITION OF SLAVERY AFTER AMERICAN CIVIL WAR OF 1861-5 CHANGED LEGAL POSITION OF BLACK PEOPL IN AMERICAN SOCIETY
  • BLACK PEOPLE NOW SEEN AS COMPETITORS FOR JOBS PARTICULARLY IN THE HARD YEARS FOLLWING DEPRESSION
  • FEAR AND PARANOIA LED TO WHITE PEOPLE BELIEVING BLACK PEOPLE DESIRED EVERYTHING THAT WHITE PEOPLE HAD
  • 1930'S - SCOTTSBORO TRIALS IN ALABAMA: NINE YOUNG BLACK MEN FOUND GUILTY OF ****** TWO WHITE WOMEN. LATER DISCOVERED THE WHITE WOMEN WERE LYING. ALL YOUNG MEN ACCUSED EXCEPT YOUNGEST AGED 12, WERE SENTENCED TO DEATH AFTER SEVERAL TRIALS
  • BLACK PEOPLE CALLING FOR DESEGREGATION AND STARTING TO DEMAND MORE CIVIL RIGHTS SUCH AS RIGHT TO VOTE
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Setting and Place

  • MAYCOMB IS A MICROCOSM OF AMERICAN SOCIETY IN THE 1930'S (ESPECIALLY THAT OF THE SOUTHERN STATES)
  • BACKGROUND OF ECONOMIC HARDSHIP AND RACIAL PREDJUDICE, IMPACT OF CIVIL WAR, WE SEE HOW THE GEOGRAPHICAL SETTING HAS A DIRECT IMPACT IN SHAPING BOTH CHARACTER AND THE PLOT
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Growing Up

  • ALL OF SCOUT'S EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCES TAKE PLACE OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL ( HARD TIMES, CHARLES DICKENS, SIMILARLY DEPICTS AN EDUCATION SYSTEM IRRELEVANT TO CHILDREN'S EVERYDAY EXISTENCE)
  • JEM AFFECTED MOST BY GROWING UP - THROUGHOUT HE BEGINS TO TAKE A MORE MATURE APPROACH TO THINGS, CHANGES AFTER HIS PUNISHMENT WITH MRS DUBOSE, MOST AFFECTED BY THE TRIAL, CAN'T ACCEPT THE INJUSTICES OF THE TRIAL
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Predjudice

  • MAYCOMB IS DIVIDED INTO CLEAR GROUPS OF PEOPLE
  • BLACK PEOPLE ARE SEEN AS THE BOTTOM OF THE SOCIAL STRATA, THE EWELLS ARE SEEN AS WHITE TRASH BUT ARE STILL ABOVE THE BLACK PEOPLE
  • EWELLS WOULD HAVE FELT THREATENED BY THE BLACK COMMUNITY AFTER THE ABOLISHMENT OF SLAVERY AS THERE WAS NO LONGER A CLEAR DISTINCTIOHN IN RACE
  • WOMEN ARE REGARDED AS UNEQUAL TO MEN - NOT PERMITTED TO BE ON THE JURY
  • SCOUT LEARNS THAT WOMEN ARE EXPECTED TO BEHAVE AND DRESS IN A CERTAIN WAY
  • ATTICUS' MAXIM LEADS TO THE BREAKDOWN OF PREDJUDICE AS CHILDREN BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND PEOPLE MORE AND HE TRIES TO MAKE THE PEOPLE UNDERSTAND TOM AT THE TRIAL
  • HARPER LEE SUGGESTS THAT BREAKING DOWN PREDJUDICE HAS TO BE DONE BY TARGETING IT TOWARDS INDIVUALS INITIALLY
  • WE NOW HAVE A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE DUE TO THE BENEFIT OF HINDSIGHT
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Courage

  • REAL COURGAE - CONTINUE WITH WHAT YOU ARE DOING EVENTHOUGH YOU ARE FIGHTING A LOSING BATTLE
  • FIGHTING AGAINST EVIL AND PREDJUDICE - AN ACT OF BRAVERY IS DEMANDED TO TRY AND PREVENT EVIL TAKING PLACE AND TO OVERIDE PREDJUDICE
  • HARPER LEE SHOWED COURAGE BY WRITING THE BOOK AT THE TIME SHE DID (1960)
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Symbolism

  • MOCKINGBIRD MOTIF - REPEATED IMAGE OF AN INNOCENT CREATURE
  • CHILDREN 'MOCK' BOO'S LIFE AS THEY MAKE FUN AND IMITATE IT
  • MAYELLA ACCUSES ATTICUS OF MOCKING HER
  • BOO IS IMPRISONED IN A SEPERATE WORLD TO PROTECT HIM FROM PEOPLE'S PREDJUDICE AND ATTENTION
  • ATTICUS EXHIBITS MOCKINGBIRD TRAITS AS HE SUNG TOM'S SONG OF TRUTH TO PEOPLE OF MAYCOMB BUT HAS NOT BEEN HEARD
  • RADLEY PLACE REPRESENTS PRIVACY AND ISOLATION AND UNFRIENDLINESS OF THE RADLEY FAMILY
  • TREE BESIDE RADLEY PLACE REPRESENTS BOO'S CHARACTER AND HIS DESIRE TO COMMUNICATE
  • SCOUT AND JEM'S SNOWMAN SUGGESTS HOW SUPERFICIAL SKIN COLOUR IS TO THE ESSENCE OF A HUMAN BEING
  • MAYELLA'S RED GERANIUMS INDICATE A DESIRE FOR A BETTER LIFE
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Language

  • MALAPROPISM - INACCURATE USE OF THE WORD, CREATES HUMOUR FOR THE AUDIENCE -  BOB EWELL SAYS HE IS MOST DEFINITELY NOT AMBIDEXTROUS AND CAN USE , "ONE HAND GOOD AS THE OTHER"
  • CHILDREN'S DIALOGUE AND THE USE OF SLANG ARE NOTABLE, CREATES HUMOUR WHEN CHIDREN DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
  • ATTICUS MIRRORS HIS PERSONALITY, SPEAKS COURTEOUSLY, FORMALLY BUT STRAIGHT TO THE POINT (LANGUAGE LEE WOULD HAVE BEEN USED TO - SHE CAME FROM A LEGAL BACKGROUND)
  • AUNT ALEXANDRA'S REVEALS HER WHITE-MIDDLE CLASS STATUS
  • BOB EWELL USES CRUDE, HARSH LANGUAGE AT THE TRIAL, REFERS TO MAYELLA AS, "SCREAMIN' LIKE A STUCK HOG", SHOWS WHAT LITTLE LOVE AND RESPECT HE HAS FOR HIS DAUGHTER
  • DIFFERENT PURPOSES OF LANGUAGE - CREATES ATMOSPHERE, REVEALS CHARACTER, CREATES SYMBOLIC STRUCTURE, REVEALS IRONY
  • DIFFERNCE IN DIALECT RELATES TO HOW 'EVOLVED' PEOPLE ARE IN TERMS OF HOW MEANINGS CHANGE
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Structure

  • SET BETWEEN 1933 AND 1935
  • SET OUT IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
  • PART ONE IS FOCUSED ON CHILDREN'S GAMES WITH BOO AS THE DRIVING FORCE
  • PART TWO IS CENTRED ON ADULTS' GAME OF TOM ROBINSON'S TRAIL
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