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 RAPING 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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