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The Author and Plot Summary

The Author: Harper Lee

Harper Lee is well known novel To Kill a Mockingbird, which was a success when it was published, it went on to win the Pulitzer Prize. The book itself became a modern classic of american literature. Lee herself wrote the book loosely based on the observations she made of her own town, her family, along with a certain event that took place in her home town Monroeville, Alabama when she was 10 years old in 1936. Lee was the youngest of four children, she grew up as a natural tomboy in her small town. Lee’s very own father was a lawyer and even a member of the Alabama state legislature along with owned part of a local newspaper. But her mother was mentally ill, which led her to rarely leave their home. Lee went onto later attend the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, where she majored in law. But after a year went on to tell her family that her true passion was in writing. She exchanged that following year to Oxford University in England that summer. Lee returned to her studies in law that following fall, but Lee then dropped out after only a semester. In July of the year 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird was published and picked up by the Book-of-the-Month Club along with Literary Guild.


The Book: Plot Summary

In the book To Kill a Mockingbird it is set during the time period of the Depression-era of Alabama .The narrator Scout, is raised with her brother, Jem, by their widowed father, Atticus Finch. Atticus himself is a lawyer who speaks to them multiple times throughout the book to give both advice and guidance as the kids continues to mature. One summer a Scout and Jem befriend a boy, named Dill, while Dill stays the summer the trio grows. Dill begins to question Jem and Scout about a house in their neighborhood known as the Radley place, owned by Nathan Radley but his brother Arthur also known as Boo Radley lives in the home and is shut off from the rest of the town of Maycomb.

Scout attends school for the first time that fall. Jem and scout then go onto find multiple gifts left for them in the knothole of a tree outside Boo Radley’s home. Dill returns to Maycomb the following summer. The children go onto act out the story of Boo Radley. Atticus finds out that they are playing out Boo Radley and makes them stop, and goes onto tell them “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” which urges them to actually try and see from another person’s perspective before they really judge someone. But later on that summer, on Dill’s last night in Maycomb, they all decide to sneak onto the Radley’s property where Nathan proceeds to go onto shoot at the children. While running away from the Radley’s home Jem loses his pants. When Jem goes try and retrieve his pants from the property, he finds them mended and hung over the fence. That following winter, Jem along with Scout go onto find more presents in the knothole of the tree again left by Boo Radley. Nathan Radley goes onto fill the knothole of the tree with cement.

Right after a fire goes onto break out in one of the other neighbor’s house which causes the neighborhood to go in a panic. During the chaos of the fire a blanket is slipped over Scout’s shoulders. Jem then goes onto tell Atticus about both the mended pants along with the presents the children found in the knothole in front of the Radley’s place. Atticus is presented of a rape case against one of the black residents of the town of Maycomb, that resident being Tom Robinson. Although Maycomb’s predominantly racist white community feels against it, Atticus agrees to defend Tom. The choice Atticus make then goes onto reflect onto his children because they are subjected to constant teasing from other children in the neighborhood. The Finch’s black family cook named Calpurnia takes them to the local black church, where the tight knit community comes to embrace Scout and Jem warmly.

Atticus’ sister, Alexandria, comes the following summer to live with the Finch’s. The children discover Dill when he runs away to Maycomb although he was suppose to be with his father in another town. The trial of tom Robinson begins, and when he is placed in a local jail a angry mob tries to gather in attempt to lynch him. Atticus goes onto face the mob, along with Jem and Scout sneak out the house in efforts to see Atticus. Scout sees a familiar man in the mob and then goes onto question him about his son, which shames him into scattering the mob.

During the trial Jem and Scout sit in the “colored balcony” alongside the towns black residents. Atticus goes onto show clear evidence that Tom’s accuser, Mayella and her father Bob, are lying in hopes to charge Tom. An assumption that is made was that Mayella came onto Tom Robinson, but was caught by her father and then lied in hopes that it would cover her shame and guilt. Atticus goes onto provide evidence that the marks that are on Mayella’s face are wounds from her father that he purposely inflicted on her. When Mayella’s father, Bob, discovered her on top of Tom, he called her a whore and then proceeded to beat her. Despite the evidence that points directly to Tom’s innocence, the all-white jury decides to still convict him of the rape charge. Tom later tries to escape from prison and is shot to death by prison guards. In the aftermath of the trial, Jem’s faith in justice is badly shaken when he realizes the racism that is prominent in his own community during the trial, and he then proceeds to go into doubt. Bob Ewell, Mayella’s Father, feels Atticus along with the judge have made a fool out of him in front of the town, and he vows to have revenge on them. Bob goes onto menace Tom Robinson’s widow, and tries to break into the judge’s house, and then finally goes to try and attack Jem and Scout as they come home from a Halloween party. Boo Radley goes onto save the children and stabs Ewell fatally during the struggle. Boo carries wounded Jem back to the Finch’s house. The sheriff, tries to protect Boo by saying that Bob Ewell tripped over a tree root and fell on his own knife killing himself. Boo Radley disappears once more into his house. Scout then goes onto feel like she can finally imagine what life is actually like for Boo. Scout then goes to embraces her father’s advice to practice sympathy and understanding to others, and demonstrates that her experiences with hatred and prejudice will not kill her faith in human goodness in the end.

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