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To Kill A Mockingbird is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book and one of the classics of modern American literature. It has been a phenomenal success since it was published. The book follows the life of Scout Finch, who shows us how 1930s Alabama dealt with the Southern justice system and social class.
See the fact file below for more information on the To Kill A Mockingbird or alternatively, you can download our 22-page To Kill A Mockingbird worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
HARPER LEE BIOGRAPHY
- Nelle Harper Lee was born on April 28, 1926, in Monroeville, Alabama.
- To Kill a Mockingbird was her only published book until Go Set A Watchman was released in 2015.
- She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007.
- She lived a very private life and did not attend any public engagements.
- The character Dill was based on her childhood friend, the novelist Truman Capote.
- She based her book on her childhood life living in Alabama and admitted that Scout was her.
- Harper Lee died at the age of 89 on February 19, 2016.
- Atticus Finch – father of Jem and Scout, a widower, and lawyer. A man respected by the people of Maycomb even though he does not abide the community’s racial prejudice. His neighbors scorn him for defending and proving the innocence of a black man wrongly accused of rape. He stands his ground but does not take it against his neighbors.
- Jean Louise Finch or Scout Finch – Atticus’ daughter and Jem’s sister. She is six years old when the story starts, and is our eyes in this novel, both as an adult and a kid. She shows us how the people of Maycomb treat each other as racism and unequal treatment unfold before her eyes.
- Jeremy Atticus Finch – He is 10 years old when the story starts, and is the son of Atticus and brother of Scout, his constant playmate along with their neighbor, Dill. He idolizes his father and wants to follow his footsteps. We see him as a child at the start of the book, who only cares about dares and games, but he becomes mature as he discovers the cruelty and unfairness of the world.
- Arthur Radley or Boo Radley – A man Jem, Scout, and Dill are thoroughly curious about. They always wonder what he looks like and what might make him finally go outside. Boo leaves things in the tree knot for Jem and Scout without them knowing it is him until Jem figures it out. Legends say he eats cats and raccoons and hurt his father with scissors, like it was a natural thing to do.
- Tom Robinson – The African-American accused of rape by a white girl. Atticus is chosen to defend him, and proves that he couldn’t have hurt Mayella due to his injured arm.
- Calpurnia – A black female cook for the Finch household who acts as mother to Scout and Jem. She knows how to read and write, a rarity at the time.
- Ms. Stephanie – We see through her how the community of Maycomb thinks. She never filters what she wants to say, disregards the accuracy of her statements, and thinks highly of her race.
- Robert Ewell – A drunkard and violent father of Mayella Ewell and her seven siblings. It is hinted that he is responsible for what Tom Robinson is accused of.
- Mayella Ewell – The white girl who Tom Robinson is alleged to have raped. She is the eldest of seven siblings and responsible for taking care of them.
- To Kill A Mockingbird is narrated through the eyes of a six-year-old girl, Jean Louise Finch, or Scout as everybody calls her.
- The novel is set in a fictitious town, Maycomb, Alabama, where the Finch family is living during the Great Depression.
- Scout, her brother Jem, and their friend Dill, who visits during the summer, find themselves captivated by a mysterious personality near the Finch abode.
- This character is Boo Radley, who is claimed to be a dangerous man who eats cats. The children, despite these stories, are curious and try to get his attention and make him come out of the house.
- While the children are busy with their adventures at Radley’s house, Atticus Finch, Jem and Scout’s father, a lawyer, is appointed to defend a black man wrongly accused of raping a white girl.
- Tom Robinson, with an injured left hand, fights for his innocence in a trial where his fate has been decided even before the trial starts.
- Atticus stands to question Mayella Ewell and proves that Tom Robinson couldn’t have raped or hurt Mayella, but she stands by her statement.
- Atticus tries his best to defend and protect Tom Robinson. He heavily implies that Robert Ewell was responsible for the crime they are accusing Tom of.
- Before the judgment day, Atticus stands guard on Tom Robinson’s cell to stop a planned mob lynching the latter.
- The mob does not succeed as Scout unknowingly appeals to the conscience of Mr. Cunningham and the crowd.
- Tom Robinson, as expected, is convicted. He tries to escape prison, but is shot dead seventeen times by the guards.
- Robert Ewell attacks Atticus’ children in the woods when they are going home from participating in a school play.
- Boo Radley sees and accidentally kills Robert to protect the children.
- The sheriff and Atticus agree that Bob’s death was a drunken accident.
- Jem’s arm is badly broken at the elbow because of Bob Ewell’s attack.
THEMES IN TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
- Racism is the central theme of the book as the case of the African-American, Tom Robinson, is one of the two major plots.
- Tom Robinson is accused of the rape of a white girl. All the evidence suggests he is innocent, but due to the color of his skin, he is guilty even before the trial starts.
- Sadly, Tom Robinson is not the only character who experiences racism.
- Aunt Alexandra, Atticus’ sister, asks her brother to get rid of Calpurnia, hinting that a black woman shouldn’t raise Scout.
- Jem and Scout also have to endure discrimination when Calpurnia takes them to their church service. Atticus is being scorned because he chooses to defend and prove Tom Robinson’s innocence in court.
- Atticus says, “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”.
- This is the best lesson the book imparts. Empathy is the core of the book.
- Empathy guides the actions of the protagonists. Atticus is the moral backbone of the story, never failing to put himself in other people’s shoes.
- He never fights back against Robert Ewell, no matter how the latter insults and provokes him.
- He tells Jem and Scout “Jem, see if you can stand in Bob Ewell’s shoes a minute. I destroyed his last shred of credibility at that trial, if he had any to begin with. The man had to have some kind of comeback, his kind always does”. Scout and Jem learn what this means through their observations and their father’s lectures.
- GENDER ROLES
- Scout is considered to be a tomboy. But despite her boyish tendencies, she is still expected to abide by the era’s expectation of the female gender.
- Calpurnia, who acts as her mother, dresses her as a girl and demands that she act like one, at least at formal gatherings.
- Aunt Alexandra has a very typical view of what a girl should be. She tells Scout once, “You shouldn’t be doing something that requires pants” when Scout complains that she can’t do anything in a dress.
- Women are also not allowed to be part of the jury. Atticus remarks, “I guess it’s to protect our frail ladies from sordid cases like Tom’s. Besides… I doubt if we’d ever get a complete case tried – the ladies be interrupting to ask questions”.
- Mayella also suffers due to the gender roles imposed by Maycomb society. She is left to take care of her siblings. It is implied by Tom that Mayella fell in love with him because he was kind to her. But being a white girl, she cannot do anything about it.
- The working theory of what happened with Tom and Mayella is that her father saw her kiss Tom. Disgusted, he hit Mayella and probably raped her, then tried to use Tom as a scapegoat and Mayella, being dependent on her father, agreed to this scheme.
- It is a sin to kill a Mockingbird because they are innocent.
- As Ms. Maudie and Atticus say, “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy, but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
- Given this, it is fair to say that innocence dies in the book.
- The book starts where Jem and Scouts think everything in Maycomb is good and that all people get along nicely. They learn as the story progresses that it is the opposite. Some situations and motivations cause people to act unfairly to others.
- Boo Radley is another character who can be deemed as innocent in the book. He was not allowed to go out so that he would not endure the unfairness of the world.
- However, he is subject to prejudice, but he does not know the cruelty and unfairness of the rumors about him.
- His innocence is compromised when he saves Scout and Jem and accidentally kills Robert Ewell.
- Jem says “I think I’m beginning to understand why Boo Radley’s stayed shut up in the house all this time… it’s because he wants to stay inside.”
- SOCIAL CLASSES
- Jem explains these by saying “There’s the ordinary kind like us and the neighbors, there’s the kind like the Cunninghams out in the woods, the kind like the Ewells down at the dump, and the Negroes”.
- He refers to his family as ordinary, even though his father is a lawyer, and his uncle is a doctor.
- The Cunninghams are poor white farmers who live decently, while the Ewells are the most impoverished white farmers whom the community also calls trash as they live in a run-down and dirty house where the children run wild.
- They have what Atticus calls “special white privileges” where they depend on various forms of public assistance and were allowed to hunt out of season so that the children would not get hungry.
- The community also allows children not to attend school.
- The fourth classification is the Negroes, who live separately from the whites and are considered as the lowest class in society regardless of their education, monetary status, and moral values.
To Kill A Mockingbird Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the To Kill A Mockingbird across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use To Kill A Mockingbird worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the To Kill A Mockingbird which is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book and one of the classics of modern American literature. It has been a phenomenal success since it was published. The book follows the life of Scout Finch, who shows us how 1930s Alabama dealt with the Southern justice system and social class.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- To Kill A Mockingbird Facts
- Harper Lee’s Life
- Mockingbird Characters
- Witnessing Injustice
- Who is the Mockingbird?
- Mockingbird at a Glance
- Mockingbird in Brief
- Best Movie Adaptation
- Who Said It?
- Left in the Knothole
- My Own Book Cover
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