BC: Harper Lee
FC: Intolerance | Prejudice | J U S T I C E | Innocence
1: To Kill a Mockingbird Literary Analysis: A Deeper Dive Into Literature By : Will Lynch | To Kill a Mockingbird - By: Harper Lee
2: Table of Contents | Overview - Page 4 Characters - Page 5 Characterization - Pages 6-7 Dramatic Irony - Page 8 Situational Irony - Page 9 Conflict - Pages 10-11 Symbolism - Pages 12-13
3: Theme - Pages 14-15 Point of View - Page 17 Altered Point of View Essay - Pages 18 - 22 Setting - Pages 23-25 Scottsboro Historical Reference - Page 26 New Historicism School of Criticism - Page 27-28 Psychoanalytical School of Criticism - Pages 29-30 Feminist School of Criticism - Pages 31-32
4: To Kill a Mockingbird is a story about a small town called Maycomb in early 20th century Alabama. It follows Jean Louise "Scout" Finch, a young girl, and her family. A town deeply embedded with racism and prejudice, it is enraged when Atticus Finch, Scout's father, defends a black man in a rape trial. Although the man, Tom Robinson, is innocent, he is convicted and sentenced to the death penalty. As the story unfolds, Scout's childhood sense | of innocence begins to fade, as she sees the world is not as black and white as it once appeared. | Overview
5: Major Characters | Scout Finch: A young girl, and narrator of TKaM. The daughter of Atticus Finch, she is greatly affected by the Robinson - Ewell trial. | Jem Finch: A young man, older brother of Scout and Atticus's oldest child. Jem is affected by the trial just as Scout is, but as he understands the prejudice, he is greatly angered. | Dill Harris: Best friend of Scout and Jem. A master at telling "tall tales" about his life, he appears to have the perfect life, when, in reality, it is much less so. | Atticus Finch: Father of Scout and Jem Finch. Atticus becomes an enemy of much of Maycomb when he defends Tom Robinson in the Robinson - Ewell trial. | Tom Robinson: Defendant in the Robinson - Ewell trial. Accused of attacking and raping Mayella Ewell. Found guilty and sentenced to death, but dies in a botched escape attempt. | Arthur Radley: Elusive son of the Radley household, often called "Boo". He is the object of much attention from Scout, Jem, and Dill.
6: Scout Finch - In the beginning of the story, Scout is characterized as a young girl who doesn't have a care in the world. At the end of the story, she is characterized as a mature young lady with a heart bright enough to overcome the racism that was long pressed into her mind | Jem Finch - At the beginning of the story, Jem is characterized as a reckless teenage boy only interested in having fun. At the end of the story, he is characterized as a mature young man with a deep sense of morality and desire to protect his sister. | Characterization : Dynamic Characters
7: Characterization : Static Characters | Bob Ewell - Throughout the story, Bob Ewell is characterized as a racist Southern stereotype. He is responsible for the death of Tom Robinson and the attempted murder of Jem and Scout. Throughout the story, he remains smug and entitled. | Aunt Alexandra - Throughout the story, Alexandra is characterized as the "Southern Belle" stereotype. She is very obsessed with the woman's role in the house and, against many protests, continuously pushes said ideology on Scout.
8: Dramatic Irony - Chapter 10: To the reader, it is known that Atticus is the "best shot" in Maycomb when Heck Tate asks him to shoot Tim Johnson, as Heck hints at that fact.. However, to Jem and | Scout, this is not known until after Atticus takes the shot. "'Mr. Finch, this is a one-shot job.' Atticus shook his head vehemently: 'Don't just stand there, Heck! He won't wait all day for you--' 'For God's sake, Mr. Finch, look where he is! Miss and you'll go straight into the Radley house! I can't shoot that well and you know it!' 'I haven't shot a gun in thirty years--' Mr. Tate almost threw the rifle at Atticus. 'I'd feel mighty comfortable if you did now,' he said." (Lee 95-96). | Dramatic Irony
9: Situational Irony - Chapter 21: It is unexpected that Tom Robinson will be convicted.. Though it can be expected as a result of the deep Southern racism, the | amount of evidence absolving him of guilt is great. "Jem smiled. ''He's not supposed to lean, Reverend, but don't fret, we've won it,' he said wisely. 'Don't | see how any jury could convict on what we heard.'" (Lee 208). | Situational Irony
10: Conflict : Scout fights Walter Cunningham - Scout fights Walter Cunningham at school because she blames him for getting her in trouble, as the teacher is angry with her for standing up for Walter because she thought Scout was making fun of Walter. This a an External, Man vs. Man conflict. Scout undergoes an internal change as a result of this fight. Before it, she simply saw the Cunninghams as poor and unimportant. After the fight, however, Scout sees that the Cunninghams simply have their own ways, and shouldn't be disrespected or thought of as lower because of them.
11: Atticus's battle inside - Atticus faces a hard decision on the subject of Tom Robinson. Should he defend Tom, and maintain his values? Or should he avoid the case in order to keep his family safe from the town? This is an Internal, Man vs. Self Conflict. Atticus ponders the decision, and eventually decides to defend Tom Robinson. If he didn't defend the man no one else would, he would never be able to face his children again. | Tom Robinson's battle against oppression - Tom Robinson fights a battle against the world that he cannot win. In the early 20th century deep South, there is no such thing as an innocent black man. Tom defends his name against Bob Ewell in a battle he cannot win. This is an External, Man vs. Society conflict. Tom Robinson was an innocent man who had never broken a law in his life. However, he was found guilty and sentenced to death. Out of sheer fear, he attempts to escape captivity, and is shot to death on sight.
12: Symbolism : The symbol of the Mockingbird appears very commonly throughout this story. The Mockingbird symbolizes innocence, and the title of the book literally means "The Death of Innocence". Throughout this story, innocence is overtaken by evil, hatred, and prejudice. Scout's Mockingbird - Scout in this story can be considered a mockingbird. She is a young girl who sees the world through innocent eyes. That very innocence, however, dies with time as she sees that the world is not fair, and not kind. This is the death of Scout's innocence.
13: Tom Robinson's Mockingbird - Scout is wrongly tried for a crime he didn't commit. He is sentenced to death although everyone who convicted him knows full well that he is innocent. The mockingbird is quite literal in Tom's case; Tom, an innocent man, dies for a crime he didn't commit. This is the death of Tom Robinson's innocence. | Boo Radley's Mockingbird - Boo Radley is a recluse who is feared by every child in Maycomb. Though he never did anything wrong, over time, he has become a social pariah. This made Boo even more afraid to step outside of his home, which makes the children fear him further. It is an eternally vicious cycle. This is the death of Boo Radley's innocence.
14: Theme : D - The Shadow of Good is Evil - EV - "Atticus placed his fork beside his knife and pushed his plate aside. 'Mr. Cunningham basically is a good man,' he said, 'he just has blind spots along with the rest of us.'" (Lee 157). EL - This statement means that, although they are good people at heart, society and their own personal morals have made their minds and decisions cloudy. Real World Link - For other pieces of literature, or even the real world, this lesson proves that you can't judge a book by its cover. Light always casts a shadow, but, in the same sense, for a shadow to be cast, there must be light.
15: D - T he Importance of Moral Education EV - "Hush your mouth! Don't matter who they are, anybody sets foot in this house's yo' comp'ny, and don't let me catch you remarkin' on their ways like you was so high and mighty." (Lee 24). EL - Calpurnia expresses the need to be a morally and ethically accepting and respectful host. Real World Link - You should always be accepting, and not judge others just because their ways are different or not as good as yours. This is a basic moral teaching. | D - The Existence of Social Inequality EV - "He ain't company, Cal, he's just a Cunningham." (Lee 24). EL - Just because the Cunninghams are poorer and less educated (of a lesser social class) than the Finches, Scout sees them as lesser beings. Real World Link - You shouldn't look down on someone simply because they are different than you are. Be accepting and respectful of everyone, regardless of gender, race, or beliefs.
16: Point of View : Type of Point of View - 1st Person Quoted Illustration - "He was a year my senior but I towered over him. As he told us the old tale his blue eyes would lighten and darken." (Lee 7-8). Narrator - The narrator is Scout Finch, a young, innocent girl who is very "tomboyish". She gives the story a sense of childhood innocence and naivety. Author's Reasoning - Harper Lee chose to write from Scout's perspective to give a naive and trusting perspective on the world. Through Scout's Point of View, the reason behind "blacks and whites being different" is a mystery; she sees everyone the same. Anyone else wouldn't be so innocent.
17: Altered Point of View : | I arrived at the Maycomb County Jail. I called to Tom Robinson through the window. “Tom,” I said, “it’s safe.” “Mr. Finch?” He asked, in a softly bulky voice. “It’s me, Tom. I came to talk to you about” I trailed off as several cars arrived at the jail’s parking lot. In ones and twos, men got out of the cars. Shadows became substances as lights revealed solid shapes moving toward me. I remained where I was. “He in there, Mr. Finch?” one of them asked me. “He is, but he’s asleep. Don’t wake him up.” I said in response. “You know what we want. Get aside from the door, Mr. Finch.” said a man I recognized to be Walter Cunningham Sr. “You can turn around and go home again, Walter,” I said plainly. “Heck Tate’s around somewhere.” I said in an attempted threat. “The hell he is,” said another of them. “Heck’s bunch’s so deep in the woods they won’t get out till mornin’.” “Indeed? Why so?” I asked. “Called ‘em off on a snipe hunt,” was the succinct answer. “Didn’t you think
18: a’that Mr. Finch?” “Thought about it, but didn’t believe it. Well then,” my voice remained steady, “that changes things, doesn’t it?” “It do,” another deep voice said. Its owner was still hidden in the shadows. “Do you really think so?” I asked. This was the second time I had to ask that question in two days. It felt very unnatural. I jumped as I heard a quick shriek to my left. When I looked over, my heart sank. Scout was pushing her way through the crowd and into the light. “Hey, Atticus!” she said. A creeping horror swept throughout my being. As Scout saw my face, the same feeling seemed to permeate her, as well. “I stood up slowly. I set my newspaper down as my fingers began to tremble. “Go home, Jem,” I said, terrified. “Take Scout and Dill home.” Jem showed no sign of movement. “Go home, I said.” Jem shook his head. I put my fists to my hips, and he mimicked me. I saw a level of maturity I had never seen in my son, but it was not time to focus on such a trivial matter.
19: “Son, I said go home.” Jem shook his head. “I’ll send him home,” a burly man said, and grabbed Jem roughly by the collar. It nearly lifted him off of his feet. “Don’t you touch him!” Scout screamed as she kicked the man. With where she hit him, it’s not surprising that he fell back in pain. “That’ll do, Scout.” I put my hand on her shoulder. “Don’t kick folks. No--” I said, as she was pleading justification. “Ain’t nobody gonna do Jem that way.” she said. “All right, Mr. Finch, get ‘em outta here,” someone growled. “You got fifteen seconds to get ‘em outta here.” I attempted to make Jem mind me. “I ain’t going.” was his steady answer to my threats, requests, and finally, “Please, Jem, take them home.” “Hey, Mr. Cunningham.” Scout said. He didn’t appear to hear her. “Hey, Mr. Cunningham. How’s your entailment gettin’ along?” she asked. Scout knew full well Walter Cunningham’s legal affairs; I had once described them at length. The big man blinked and hooked his thumbs in his overall straps. He seemed uncomfortable; he cleared his throat and looked away. Her friendly overture had fallen flat. I had hoped that
20: would encourage her to leave. I was wrong. Mr. Cunningham wore no hat, and the top half of his forehead was white in contrast to his sunscorched face. He shifted his feet, clad in work shoes. “Don’t you remember me, Mr. Cunningham? I’m Jean Louise Finch. You brought us some hickory nuts one time, remember?” she said. “I go to school with Walter. He’s your boy, ain’t he? Ain’t he, sir?” she asked. I began to see what she was playing at. Mr. Cunningham was moved to a faint nod. He knew her after all. “He’s in my grade,” she said, “ and he does right well. He’s a good boy,” she added, “a real nice boy. We brought him home for dinner one time. Maybe he told you about me, I beat him up one time but he was real nice about it. Tell him hey for me, won’t you?” she asked. Her innocence seemed to be getting through. I had once said to Scout that it is polite to talk to people about what they are interested in, not what you are interested in. When Mr. Cunningham showed no interest in discussing his son, she changed the subject. “Entailments are bad.” she advised him as she seemed to realize she had caught the attention of everyone there. I stopped poking at Jem and stood beside him and Dill. All of the other men’s mouths were half-open in shock. I soon realized that my mouth, too, was half open. Our eyes
21: met and I closed my mouth. A surge of pride washed over me. “Well Atticus, I was just sayin’ to Mr. Cunningham that entailments are bad an’ all that, but you said not to worry, it takes a long time sometimes that you all’d ride it out together” she slowly stopped, as if she had committed an idiocy. I was, in fact, very absorbed in her speech. So much so, in fact, that I couldn’t speak. Sweat gathered at the edges of her hair. I knew the only thing she couldn’t stand was being stared at. Everyone was still. “What’s the matter?” she asked. I said nothing. She looked around and up at Mr. Cunningham, whose face was equally impassive. Then he did a peculiar thing. He squatted down and took her by both shoulders. “I’ll tell him you said hey, little lady.” he said. Then he straightened up and waved his large hand. “Let’s clear out,” he called. “Let’s get going, boys.” As they had come, in ones and twos, the men shuffled back to their ramshackle cars. Doors slammed, engines coughed, and they were gone. I turned to the jail and leaned on it with my face to the wall. Scout pulled at my sleeve. “Can we go home now?” I looked down at her and nodded. I produced my handkerchief, wiped my face and blew my nose quite violently. “Mr. Finch?”
22: A soft, husky voice came from the darkness above: “They gone?” I stepped back and looked up. “They’ve gone,” I said. “Get some sleep, Tom. They won’t bother you any more.” I looked up and smiled at the window above the Maycomb County Tribune, for I knew Mr. Underwood had been my support the entire time. I looked at Jem and nodded, a signal for us to return home. My children have inherited my stubbornness, I thought. At least this nightmare is over. | Paperrator Grade : B
23: Setting : Quote 1 - "Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square. Somehow, it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer's day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men's stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o'clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum." (Lee 5). Learned - Maycomb is an old, comfortable town where nothing really changes. People have the same ideals there as they did years ago. No one truly cares to change the overall mindset.
24: Quote 2 - "The Maycomb jail was the most venerable and hideous of the county's buildings. Atticus said it was like something Cousin Joshua St. Clair might have designed. It was certainly someone's dream. Starkly out of place in a town of square-faced stores and steep-roofed houses, the Maycomb jail was a miniature Gothic joke one cell wide and two cells high, complete with tiny battlements and flying buttresses. Its fantasy was heightened by its red brick facade and the thick steel bars at its ecclesiastical windows. It stood on no lonely hill, but was wedged between Tyndal's Hardware Store and The 'Maycomb Tribune' office. The jail was Maycomb's only conversation piece: its detractors said it looked like a Victorian privy; its supporters said it gave the town a good solid respectable look, and no stranger would ever suspect that it was full of niggers." (Lee 150). Learned - The description of the courthouse helps to describe the town's throwback to pre-modern ideals. . It holds the thoughts and ideals of days already gone. It also helps to add emphasis by the fact that it is where Tom Robinson is held.
25: Quote 3 - "Maycomb's Ewells lived behind the town garbage dump in what was once a negro cabin. The cabin's plank walls were supplemented with sheets of corrugated iron, its roof shingled with tin cans hammered flat, so only its general shape suggested its original design: square, with four tiny rooms opening onto a shotgun hall, the cabin rested uneasily upon four irregular lumps of limestone. Its windows were merely open spaces in the walls, which in the summertime were covered with greasy strips of cheesecloth to keep out the varmints that feasted on Maycomb's refuse." (Lee 170). Learned - This quote helps to understand the living conditions of one of the social hierarchies of Maycomb county. The town's level of social and economical living equality are very different. | Context - It is necessary to know why the South acts as it does. For example, it is impossible to see any shred of guilt in Tom Robinson without racism, but if you understand Southern racism, you can see why it is a question to the town as to his innocence or guilt.
26: Scottsboro Trial Reference. Overview - In the Scottsboro Trial, 9 black men were accused of raping2 white women. They were innocent, but were found guilty many times before they were rightly acquitted. This is a near parallel to Tom Robinson's trial. Another parallel to the Tom Robinson trial would be Emmett Till, a young boy who was lynched after he reportedly flirted with a white woman. Parallels : | Real World : -9 black men were accused of raping 2 white women -Entirely white jury in the 1930's -Judge Horton went against public opinion -Acquitted only after many immoral trials ending in conviction | TKaM Events : -1 black man accused of raping 1 white woman -Entirely white jury in the 1930's -Atticus went against public opinion -Only survived one trial; convicted
27: New Historicism : Allusions : Page 47 - Brigadier General Joe Wheeler Confederate soldier in the Civil War, nicknamed "Fightin' Joe". It shows the the people of the South were proud of the Civil War in that era. Page 65 - Appomattox Location of the Confederacy's surrender to the Union in 1865 The use of this allusion in the same statement as "bad children" shows that the people of Maycomb are resentful of the Civil War's outcome. Page 76 - General Hood Confederate general during the Civil War, known for his bravery and aggressiveness. Scout's negative tone in the use of this allusion shows that her opinion isn't based on the Hood's place in the Civil War, showing her personality
28: Page 99 - CSA Pistol Acronym for Confederate States of America It shows the people of Maycomb have a negative view of Mrs. Dubose for having the pistol, and that she is dangerous and hateful. Page 126 - Moses Biblical slave who led the Jews out of Egypt In the sense that it is used, it CLEARLY shows the social and racial lines that are drawn. Page 178 - Sherlock Holmes Fictional master detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle It makes Atticus seem like a master by comparing his knowledge to that of the genius master detective. Perception Influence : These allusions help the reader perceive the dark views and opinions of the characters in the book. It helps build darker moods, themes, and tones to darken the perception of the story.
29: Psychoanalytical : Atticus - Ego Atticus tells Scot not to fight anymore, finding a balance between her innate childhood rage and the need to defend Atticus's name Aunt Alexandra - Ego Aunt Alexandra tells Scout to be more womanlike, finding a balance between her desire to be a tomboy and the social standards of the "southern belle". Jem - Id Jean attacks Mrs. Dubose's garden, unleashing his inner rage at the hateful woman. Dill - Id Dill lies about his family and himself to make himself more impressive, feeding his need for attention.
30: Boo Radley - Superego Through ridicule from the townspeople, Boo has become a reluse and a social "blank slate". Calpurnia - Ego Calpurnia defends Jem and Scout when they are persecuted at the "black church", tapping into her desire to defend them but going against the social standards of "black and white". Miss Maudie - Ego Miss Maudie says she isn't upset that her house burned down, going along with her desire to appear strong for Jem and Scout but going against the norm of fear and sadness at the face of disaster.
31: Feminism : Characters : Calpurnia to Aunt Alexandra Level of Education : Calpurnia - Little to none Aunt Alexandra - Mid to high level of education Limitations on Life Due to Gender - Neither have as many rights as men, both have more trouble finding work (why Calpurnia stays with the Finch family), unfair treatment by men, and a discouragement on education. Limitations on Life Due to Social Class - Calpurnia - No education, harsher discrimination Aunt Alexandra - N/A Differences if White Upper Class Woman - Calpurnia - Wouldn't necessarily have to work, less discrimination, "Southern Belle" sterotype Aunt Alexandra - N/A ; already a white upper class woman
32: Differences if White Upper Class Man - Calpurnia - Easier to get a job, better education, commands respect in society, enjoy all freedom that belong to people, NO DISCRIMINATION. Aunt Alexandra - Less discrimination, enjoy all freedom that belongs to people, have more respect