BC: To Kill A Mockingbird
FC: To Kill A Mockingbird Visual Literary Analysis | By: Austin Shrum
1: Table of Contents | Topic Setting Point of View Conflict Characterization Symbols Theme Schools of Literary Criticism -Feminism -New Historicism -Psychoanalytic | Page Number 2-5 6-11 12-13 14-15 16-17 18-21 22-31 23 24-27 28-31
2: Setting | When? | "The Cunninghams are country folks, farmers, and the crash hit them the hardest"(Lee 27). The story was set around the 1930s. The stock market crashed in October 1929 which left many farmers, like the Cunninghams, with very little money. | Where? | "Maycomb, some twenty miles east of Finch's Landing, was the county seat of Maycomb County"(Lee 5). Maycomb is located in Alabama, twenty miles from a well-known place. It is a small town, but the law there is very good.
3: Specific Details | "In rainy weather 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"(Lee 6). The weather in Maycomb was wet, sloppy, and extremely hot. However, many people were out of their houses.
4: Setting | Why is the setting important? | The setting is important because it helps the reader visualize where the story took place and what life was like. It also helps the reader by refreshing their knowledge of what went on during that period which, in turn, helps them better understand the challenges the characters face.
5: The Scottsboro Boys were 9 black teenagers accused of rape in Alabama in 1931. One was shot in prison by a guard. Two escaped but were sent back. A lynch mob gathered at the jail in Scottsboro and demanded the youths be surrendered. The trials were unfair and unjust, all three of them. Emmett Till was a black boy who was murdered at the age of 14 for flirting with a white woman. | The Scottsboro boys had a lynch mob gathered at the jail in Scottsboro and demanded that they be surrendered. In TKaM, Walter Cunningham's mob gathered and demanded that Tom Robinson be surrendered. Also, one of the Scottsboro boys was shot by a prison guard which is what happened to Tom Robinson. Just like the Scottsboro trial, Tom Robinson's trial was unfair and unjust. A similarity between Emmitt Till and Tom Robinson is their friendliness towards white woman.
6: Point of View | " Jem camel-kicked me when I tried to say where we had found it. Jem asked Atticus if he remembered anybody who ever wone one, and Atticus said no"(Lee 81).
7: First Person Point of View | The narrator is Scout and she is a 7 year old girl who is oblivious. | Why did Harper Lee choose to tell the story from the perspective of a young girl? | Harper Lee chose to tell this story from the perspective of a young girl to capture the innocence of the situation. Harper Lee wanted to show the non-bias view of the everyday life in the early 1940s.
8: Point of View | In the article, I Would Say 'To Kill A Mockingbird' Captured The Most Interesting Part Of Our Lives, Atticus talks his life after the trial, along with details about Scout and Jem's life. While the article was very interesting, the perspective of Jem during the current time of the story was the most interesting choice to write about. I was walking through the schoolyard when I heard some yelling. There was a fight and I was missing it! I ran to go see what all the commotion was about. When I got there, I could not believe what I saw! My baby sister, Scout, was shoving little Walter Cunningham's face into the dirt. I told Scout to stop. "You're bigger'n he is," I said. She said, "He's as old as you, nearly. He made me start off on the wrong foot." I ignored the selfish statement and told Scout to let him go immediately. Then, Scout started to explain about the reasoning behind why she decided she
9: could shove his face into the dirt. Walter got up slowly and Scout got the look she always gets when she is not finished. I stopped her as she stomped, trying to scare Walter away. Walter looked like he was starving just like those kids we saw in class. Since it was obvious that he could use a home-cooked meal, I invited him to come over and join our family for dinner. Atticus wouldn't mind. In fact, he would be proud of me. Although Walter declined, I felt happy that I tried to help a young child get food. Scout and I started towards home. As we were walking, footsteps started to get louder and louder. When I turned to see what the noises were, Walter was a foot away from me. Walter said that he yelled for us, but I did not hear him. I guess Scout did, because she didn't seem all that surprised when he ran up. Walter decided to take us up on the offer. Thank the Lord, because he looked like he could use some food. We made casual conversation as we continued our way towards home. We passed the Radley Place, talking about how scary it was. In fact, I don’t fear the Radley Place any more. There is nothing to fear! We have been passing it for years and we are still as safe as ever.
10: Point of View | As soon as we reached our front steps, I sprinted inside to tell Calpurnia to set an extra plate for dinner. I did not want our guest to feel unwelcome. When I walked out of the kitchen, Atticus and Walter were having a conversation about crops that I could not follow. I had a feeling Scout could not follow it either because she stood there looking dumbfounded. Walter told Atticus that the reason he could not pass the first grade was because he had to stay out with his grandpa and help with the chopin’. Personally, I thought that was an excuse; however, Atticus did not think the same way. We continued to eat dinner while Atticus and Walter were having a conversation like two grown men. This was different, but I guess life was different in his shoes. Therefore, I respected that.
12: Conflicts | Conflict #1 | Bob and Mayella Ewell are accusing Tom Robinson of rape. This external conflict is Man vs Man. | Conflict #2 | Atticus has been asked to defend Tom Robinson. Atticus knows Tom is innocent but Tom will face death if he loses. This internal conflict is Man vs Self.
13: Conflict #3 | The case of Tom Robinson vs Mayella Ewell. This external conflict is Man vs Society. | In conflict #1, Tom Robinson was just trying to get through life before. Afterwards, he was convicted and later died in jail. In conflict #2, Atticus wanted to defend Tom because he is human. Afterwards, he didn't change. In conflict #3, Mayella Ewell was a poor girl living in a rough home. Afterwards, she did not change.
14: Characterization | Static Characters | Atticus- father of Jem and Scout, lawyer that defends Tom Robinson -He is a static character because he believes that justice should be fair no matter who it is. Bob Ewell- Mayella Ewell's father, abusive, and prejudice -He is a static character because throughout the story, his prejudice and cruel behavior does not change.
15: Dynamic Characters | Scout- She's the protagonist, a young girl (age 5-7), and is the daughter of Atticus. -She is a dynamic character because her perception of good and bad changes as she gets older. Jem- Scout's brother, experiences the events as he is beginning puberty. -He is a dynamic character because he matures as he gets older, and like Scout, develops a sense of good and bad.
16: Symbols | The significance of the title To Kill a Mockingbird is that the mockingbird symbolizes innocence. Throughout the story, many characters can be characterized and described as innocent. Through various events, like the exposure to the selfish or prejudice nature of people or being the victim of corrupt or heavily biased justice system, this innocence is destroyed.
17: Boo Radley could be considered a mockingbird because he is a young, very nice individual. When he is hidden in his house, it signifies the death of innocence. Tom Robinson could be considered a mockingbird because of the heavily racially biased Southern Justice System, which he knows dooms him. He is shot and killed; thus, he is a prime example of the death of innocence. Scout Finch could be considered a mockingbird because we see how she grows up and sees the world for what it is. This causes her innocence to fade.
18: Theme | Theme #1 Both good and bad coexist together | "'Mr. Cunningham's basically a good man... he just has his blind spots along with the rest of us... you'll understand folks a little better when you're older. A mob's always made up of people, no matter what. Mr. Cunningham was part of a mob last night, but he was still a man'"(Lee 210). | Although Mr. Cunningham's intention was to hurt Atticus, he is still a man that has good in him. This was seen when Scout appears and he chooses not to hurt her. Today, people get caught up with the mob mentality and lose their sense of morality. Mobs are made up of people, who have done both good and bad.
19: Theme #2 You never know someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes | "'First of all,' he said, 'if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view [...] until you climb into his skin and walk around in it'"(Lee 39). | This shows that you cannot fully understand an individual until you have seen the issue from their perspective. Only then can you determine the quality of their character. Nowadays, we pass judgment on people and their actions without considering why they act the way they do or what may have caused them to be this way. We let first impressions and physical features define people in our mind.
20: Theme | Theme #3 The social inequality in society | "'There's something in our world that makes men lose their heads- they couldn't be fair if they tried. In our courts, when it's a white man's word against a black man's, the white man always wins. They're ugly, but those are the facts of life'"(Lee 295).
21: This shows that the jury in Maycomb was biased. The all white jury was presented with more than enough information on Tom Robinson's innocence. However, they still made unfair and unjust decisions. Every day, social inequality appears throughout whether you realize it or not. People are held responsible or accused of crimes based solely on race. They also might not be paid the same or not allowed something based on gender. They might also not be welcome to certain businesses because of their sexual preference.
22: Schools of Literary Criticism | Feminist | New Historicism | Psychoanalytic
23: Feminist | What is it? | The feminist school of literary criticism focuses on the women throughout the story. This school mainly focuses on the good qualities of the women in the story and how they are portrayed, along with the negative qualities and how they appear throughout the piece of literature. | In To Kill A Mockingbird | The Southern Belle stereotype throughout the story shows that women should wear dresses, stay inside, act well-mannered, make guests feel at home, and be delicate. Harper Lee expresses the positive and negative qualities of the Southern Belle stereotype through the characters. Aunt Alexandra is used to express the negative qualities, such as the hypocritical statements and the overall spoiled lifestyle that the women have. | On the other hand, Miss Maudie is used to express the good qualities portrayed, such as the caring and mother-like goodness of the stereotype. Scout is used as a contrast of the stereotype through her apparel and guy-like tendencies. The author is imposing that the Southern Belle has positive qualities along with negative qualities and if they are hand-in-hand, a lady can be a well respected delicate person that men would find appealing.
24: New Historicism | New Historicism school of literary criticism asserts that a comparison between the culture as presented in the text and as it really was is impossible for two basic reasons. | 1. The truth of a foreign past culture can never be known as established and unchangeable. 2. The text itself changes the culture it represents. | These allusions help the reader better understand how the life was for the characters. The allusions also help describe the setting. Allusions allow the reader to make inferences and relate to life back then through previous background knowledge. Overall, this helps understand the character's motives.
25: " "This time we ain't fighting th Yankees, we're fighting our friends"(101-102). Description- The Yankees were the North (Union) in the Civil War. They fought to abolish slavery against the South. Significance in Understanding TKaM- Atticus was telling Scout not to fight at school because we aren't fighting a war. She was fighting her friends. | "Dill had seen Dracula"(9). Description- Dracula was a 1931 movie that is well known and very popular. Significance in Understanding TKaM- Dracula was a popular movie in 1931 which helps the reader understand when the story takes place.
26: New Historicism | "... the ape in Tarzan"(9). Description- Tarzan was a character from the famous American author Edgar Rice Burroughs. Significance in Understanding TKaM- Edgar Rice Burroughs was popular around the 1930s. This helps the reader understand when the story takes place. | "...Mr. Crabtree in The Rover Boys, Mr. Damon in Tom Swift"(9). Description- The Rover Boys was a popular children's book series in the early 20th century. Significance in Understanding TKaM- This shows us the time the story took place.
27: "The Cunninghams are country folks, farmers, and the crash hit them the hardest"(27). Description- The crash is when the stock market crashed that led to the Great Depression. Significance in Understanding TKaM- The stock market crash left many Americans starving and poor during the 1930s. This helps the reader understand what life was like back then. | "Maycomb County had recently been told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself"(6). Description- That line was said by President Franklin Roosevelt. Significance in Understanding TKaM- This shows that the time period was in the '30s and '40s. Franklin Roosevelt led us through World War II.
28: Psychoanalytic | The psychoanalytical school of literary criticism focuses on the text itself with no outside influences. According to the psychoanalytic theory, there are three parts to the subconscious. The id is the basic desire that demands immediate gratification of their needs and desires. The superego is the opposite of the id. They focus on society and social behavior. The ego is reality. They have the balance between the id and the superego. The other theory is to reference the author's personality and analyze the character's motives off of that.
29: Characters Atticus Aunt Alexandra Jem | Id, Ego, or Superego? Ego Super Ego Ego | Why? -He knows that he should stand up for Tom Robinson through his superego although society says he shouldn't. -She is a "Southern Belle" and only cares on what society thinks about her. During her dinner in Chapter 24, this is clearly shown through her actions. -He wants to go do stuff early on and does them, such as going to the Radley house. On the other hand, he tells Scout to obey what Aunt Alexadra or he'll spank her.
30: Psychoanalytic | Characters Dill Boo Radley | Id, Ego, or Superego? Id Id | Why? -He wanted to go back Maycomb so he ran away, not thinking about anything other than himself. -He does not want to come out of his house, so he never does. He doesn't care what society thinks.
31: Characters Calpurnia Miss Maudie | Id, Ego, or Superego? Ego Ego | Why? -She wants to bring the children to her church, so she does. However, she also cares what society thinks. She shows this by not imposing rules on Scout and Jem because she was hired by Atticus, so there's a chance she could be fired. -She thinks it is alright for Scout to wear pants, but she knows when she should go along with society. She shows this when she squeezes Scout's hand at the dinner in Chapter 24.