BC: The End
FC: To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee Literary Analysis By: Katie Baskerville
1: Table of Contents | Setting................................1-5 Point of View..................6-11 Conflict........................12-13 Characterization...........14-17 Symbols........................18-19 Theme.............................20-21 Personal Reflection...22-23
2: Setting | Setting includes the time and place a story takes place. In To Kill a Mockingbird, the plot is set back in 1933-1935. The story takes place in Maycomb, Alabama. It was the kind of town where "in rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square" (Lee p.6). The town of Maycomb has a low-key kind of vibe: "there was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County" (Lee p.6). | Setting
3: Historical Context | Understanding the context of the setting is so important to understanding the characters and the conflicts that they face because it helps the reader to comprehend the meaning and purpose of one's thoughts thus creating a basic knowledge of what there is to come in the story.
4: In 1931, nine African American boys were wrongly accused of raping two white women. Eight of the boys were sentenced to be put to the death and one life in prison. Their lawyer was a town drunk. | Scottsboro Trail
5: Emmit Till | Emmitt Till, a young African American boy was accused of flirting with a white women. He was kidnapped, brutally beaten and drowned him.
6: Emmitt Till was accused of flirting with a white women. The Great Depression affected the many lives of families between the 1920's and 1930's.. Most big named celebrities are expected to live up to society's standards as a person. | There is no reason to kill a bee just because you don't like them. All they do is make honey which we enjoy eating. | Real World Events
7: Tom Robinson was wrongly accused of a crime he did not commit.. The people of Maycomb were poor. Not many of them could afford to buy a pair of shoes. Aunt Alexander believes that you should live up to your name. | TKaM Events | Just like in TKaM, it's a sin to kill a mockingbird because all they do is sing.
8: Point of View | Jean Louise Finch (Scout) narrates in first person point of view. For example, she says "When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow" (Lee p.1). Scout's personality and appearance is unusual different from the traditional southern girl. She learned how to read before she started school, she is confident, she fights with boys, caring, she thinks of others.
9: Harper Lee chose to tell this story from the perspective of a young girl instead of from Jems' or Atticus's perspective because the readers are able to connect with a character who's thoughts and feelings are not swayed by society's opinion. As the readers, we see Scout evolve from a young, innocent girl to an understanding, well-accepted individual.
10: Atticus: Lessons Being a father of two wonderful kids has given me an abundance of joy and happiness that any parent can receive from their kids. Jem, my oldest son, is like me in some ways. He is just as strong headed as a bull pulling a thirty ton cement block; once he sets his mind to something he won't let it go until it's been handled. He told me he wants to become a lawyer when he grows up just like his old man. I chuckled when he informed me that. He says once he becomes a lawyer, he is going to join me in my practice and we can fight justice together. However, Scout is more strategic and asks more questions than there are answers. Some of the questions are difficult to explain because she is still too young to understand the things that happen around her. Yet I have tried my best to explain on a level she will be able to comprehend. My mind flashes back to the time when i taught Scout one of the most important lessons she can reflect back on. ONe night, Scout and I were sitting on the porch when she told me she wasn't feeling well and that she better not go to school. I sat down on the porch swing and thought real hard before giving her my thoughts.
11: "You never went to school and you do all right, so I'll just stay home too. You can teach me like Granddaddy taught you 'n' Uncle Jack", she explained. "No i can't", I replied. I explained to her that I need to make a living and that they'd put me in jail if i kept her at home. Once i suggested magnesia, she changed her mind. Then I asked her what was bothering her. She expressed her day's misfortunes. Then she went off on about i taught her all wrong and we could no longer read. She begged me not to send her back to school. I understood Scout completely but it was time that I teach her an important lesson. "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view." "...sir", she interrupted. "Until you climb into his skin and walked around in it." I told Scout she learned many things today. I realize that Scout doesn't completely understand the concept of being in someone else's shoes yet, but she will soon understand the meaning of it.
12: Conflict | Atticus vs. Self When the judge confronts Atticus about Tom Robinson, an African american man, defending him in court, he debates whether or not to take the case. He knows for a fact that he doesn't stand a chance of winning the trial. On the other hand if he doesn't accept the case given to him, he wouldn't be able to tell Jem and Scout what to do ever again. With that thought in mind he chooses to take on the case. Despite the negative comments he and his children will face. | Mayella vs. Atticus Once Atticus made the point that Tom's inability of using his left arm and that he could not have hit Mayella, we begin to see Mayella panic. She struggles to keep her side of the story the way everyone should think has happened even though the jury knows for well what the truth is. | Scout vs. people Throughout the story Scout faces one of the most challenging part in her life, to be a lady. Scout is very outspoken, physically fit, and sometimes intimidate the boys; her brother says she needs to act more ladylike. People, particularly her Aunt Alexandria is annoyed by how Scout does not act more like a lady. She doesn't understand why she has to change the way who she is.
13: Before the trial had started, Atticus did the best he could to teach his children the morals of standing up for what you believe in. He also instilled them with the notion of seeing someone's story from their perspective before judging. After the trial was over, Atticus still believed in what was doing the right thing. | Mayella's life before the trial was an abusive, lonely, and difficult. She had no education, no friends, and no one to help her leave the life she's in. The thought of her having an affair with a black man made her life seem a little bit more interesting. All she ever wanted was respect and when Atticus gave her that respect she interpreted as an insult. | In the beginning, Scout didn't care what others think of her. She was tougher than most of the boys at school, spoke her mind, didn't really consider the other perspective, and dressed in a t-shirt and jeans. As the story progresses, her thoughts changes. As the readers, we begin to see her change. Before she didn't see the situation from one point of view. Now she imagines it from another perspective rather than just one. Also, she starts to wear dresses when the occasion is necessary | Before and After
14: Characterization | Dynamic Characters | Jem is a typical all American boy who loves to play football and one who does not back down from dares. Also, he is in some aspects, becoming more like his father, Atticus. He's realistic, critical thinker and confident in the choices he makes regarding his best interest. From being a daring,naive, young boy to a more responsible young man and doing the right thing even though the odds are against him. The time when Dill dared Jem to touch the front door to Boo Radley's house, Jem considered that moment bravery and showcasing his ability to do what was right doing that time. Yet, when Dill ran away from home to come stay with the Finches, Jem made the smart decision to get Atticus involved because Jem knew that it was the righting to do. | As a child, Scout is young and fully doesn't grasp the idea of what is happening within her family and town.Her outspokenness and honesty prevails her to be more dominant than what we realize she is. Given the fact she has little experience with the real world the readers can see Scout's growth progress. From the time when she couldn't understand more than one perspective to understanding there is more than one way of looking at life, she has blossomed into a well rounded character who sees things clearly.
15: Static Characters | Atticus is not like most days in the town of Maycomb. He doesn't dress in overalls, smoke,hunt nor fish, but instead he dresses professionally, wears glasses and reads when he's not either working on a case or spending time with Jem and Scout. Although, Atticus is one of the major characters in To Kill a Mockingbird; his character more or less stays the same even though his children's' thoughts and feelings change through the duration of the book. He still remains to set an expectation on how his family is presented and how he should imagine being in someone else's position before making judgments. | Bob Ewell is an unemployed, mostly drunk, ignorant, and filled with hatred kind of man. He wrongly accused Tom Robinson of raping his daughter, Mayella. He considers himself as a hero for exposing a black man of a terrible crime.
16: Flat Characters | Calpurnia is a trustworthy and respectful individual whose morals and values remains the same throughout the book.When Calpurnia pulled Scout into the kitchen after she had made fun of Walter for pouring molasses on his plate, she taught her the importance of being respectful to those she didn't like or thought of differently.One day, When Atticus was out of town, Calpurnia took Jem and Scout to her church. Other than one women who was unwelcoming towards the children, Calpurnia still showed respect to her and continued their way to the church. | As the readers, we do not know about Mayella very much other than she lives a life of abuse, torment, and loneliness. Mayella's life of loneliness, abuse, and torment leads her to have feelings for Tom Robinson whom she soon tries to have an affair with.
17: Round Characters | Mr. Walter Cunningham is a man of pride, dignity, and holds high values. When Atticus suggested the solution of no charge to Mr. Cunningham, despite the their financial status, he declined his proposal. His way of paying Atticus back was by giving him sacks of hickory nuts, and a crate full of smilax and holly. He went to great lengths in paying Atticus back. He keeps his morals in line because the Cunninghams simply do not take things when they cannot pay it back. | Jem's belief that everything should be fair without question only proves to show he still has not fully understand the difference between good and evil in this world. After the long and grueling trial, the verdict was not what Jem had anticipated. Jem is sweet soul, with the heart of goodness, but he has a hard time accepting the jury's decision.
18: Symbols | Throughout the story of To Kill a Mockingbird, both Tom Robinson and Boo Radley portray as the mockingbirds because they are innocent in a way that makes them not who people make them out to be. In this case, To Kill a Mockingbird reflects on the lives of Tom Robinson and Boo Radley.When Harper Lee named the title of this book, she wanted to emphasize the meaning of it to showcase its uniqueness to catch the readers' attention. With that being said, as the readers, we want to know what make the title To Kill a Mockingbird so unique. The title itself symbolizes the innocence of mockingbirds where killing a mockingbird is a sin because they do nothing but sing to us. It's the same with humans; we shouldn't punish nor harm others just because of their differences even if you disapprove of it.
19: "Mockingbirds" | Boo Radley, an individual who is reclusive from the community, but purest at heart, is altered by the Maycomb citizens speculations on what they see him as, an unmentionable creature that hides away.The night Boo saved Jem and Scout from the intoxicated Bob Ewell from harm, the children come to realization that he is not what they thought him to be. Scout opposes her father in revealing Boo to the public because he choses to stay in his house away from society. Scout knows if exposing Boo to the community would be like shooting a mockingbird. | Tom Robinson is a kind, helpful man who only does good from the heart. He would never harm anyone nor stir up trouble. All he did was help Mayella whom was in need of help. As a person who was respectful, he felt pity for her because she did not live a healthy life. However, his life ended when Mayella and her father accused him of rape. Once the jury had made their verdict, it basically killed him even though the jury knew the real truth about the accusation the Ewells made. | Scout Finch is a young girl who see the good in everyone or she thought she did. Throughout the book, she begins to see the diversity within her community and with that comes racism, prejudice, and intolerant folks among the black community. In the beginning of the book, Scout is seen as an innocent girl who thinks nothing more of her respected community. For example, when she spots Mr. Cunningham within the mob that stood before her and her father. She knows that he is a good man and tells him to tell Walter hi for him. Had it not been for her awareness of the situation she was in, the crowd of men standing before Atticus and Scout, would have cared less and proceed in their purpose. It is a sin to kill a mockingbird because they do noting bu sing their heart out. Just like Scout she does nothing but see the good in people despite their different opinions.
20: Themes | In To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee wanted to share some of the real events that happened during the 1930s and its impact it made in the lives of people in the south. More importantly, she wanted to tell a clearer image of the life in the south was not as picture perfect as it may seem. Throughout the book there are different themes portrayed. For examples: there were times when heroic moments were met, seeing someone else's perspective where discovered , and the courage it took for others to overcome all of which are important themes to learn from when reading To Kill a Mockingbird. One of the important themes to take from this book is being a hero whether an individual or a group of people who's turns compassion into a heroic action on behalf of other in need or important cause. Despite the negative comments and what his family would have to endure, he explained "If i didn't I couldn't hold up my head in town, I couldn't represent this country in the legislature, I couldn't even tell you or Jem not to do something again" (Lee p. 100). Atticus knew the position his family would be put in, yet it brings us back to having passion for what you believe in doing what is right that turns into an act of heroism no matter what the circumstances are. Just like Atticus's noble decision in taking Tom Robinson's case, we encounter situations in the court system where lawyers sometimes in their life will have to either take a stand in doing what is right when the odds is against them or accept the situation based upon the society's high expectation.
21: Another large theme to remember in To Kill a Mockingbird is you should imagine yourself in someone else's shoes to see a clearer picture of what you are looking at before judging that person or situation.For example, "Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough" (Lee p.374). Based on this quote, Scout truly gains full respect and cherishes the moment as she humbling makes her way back home knowing she understands what it means to see through someone else's eyes. It also applies to people in the real world. We sometimes overlook the possibility of seeing the event in a different way other than ours. We can learn from this book that stepping into another person's shoes gives us a different picture to look at things. The most important lesson to gain from reading this book is courage is a quality you gain as you get older and the price of having courage is priceless. "She was going to leave this world beholden to nothing and nobody" (Lee p. 148) Despite Mrs. Dubose cantankerous attitude, addiction to morphine, and strong resentment towards Atticus defending a black man, she made the courageous decision to leave the world with nothing.Atticus admire Mrs. Dubose's choice even though she did not approve of Atticus's case. Even though Jem saw it as a punishment to read to her everyday for a month, Atticus wanted Jem to see what real courage was and that he could learn from her. Courage exists in everyone despite their evil nature. In Conclusion, To Kill a Mockingbird portrays themes that are valuable in life and to remember the important aspects of it.
22: Personal Reflection | To Kill a Mockingbird is now one of my favorite books I have read. It is such a compelling book that draws you in to the life of a young girl's thoughts and feelings. I like how Lee chose a young character to narrate the story because as the readers we see things clearly through the eyes of a child. I enjoyed that Lee tied in her some of her life events in with this book. I admire Lee's choice of characters and how they contrast with one another in their own way. My favorite part in the book was when after seeing Boo Radley for the first time. Scout was surprised, yet accepting the fact that Boo wasn't really what she imagined him to be. After she walks Boo home, she stands on his porch and visualizes what Boo saw from his perspective. That moment she comes to realization that it is possible to step into someone's shoes and see a clearer picture from their angle. I also like the author's purpose of writing this book because it holds some true events that occurred in Lee's life. The title of the book was a great choice because of how she made Tom and Boo the mockingbirds One of the things I didn't like was Tom Robinson was found guilty even though his story was true. However, it makes you realize what kind of people there are in this world. Not everyone is going to have the same ideas, thoughts or feelings as you, but we can learn to understand their point of view.
23: Another part I didn't care for was I didn't like the fact Scout never saw Boo Radley again after walking him home the night Jem broke his arm. Then again, Boo is not being forced to stay inside his house, he chooses to. If Mr. Tate had expose Boo Radley to the public, then it would be like killing a mockingbird. All Boo did was care about the children's well-being and Boo doesn't want the kind of recognition. The storyline, the characters, the events that happened, the good and evil and the ending was phenomenal I would suggest people should read the book.