Harper Lee & Lorraine Hansberry: Real Life Reflections in Their Novels

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Jared Potts
Mr. Boland
English 11
5 April 2012
Lee & Hansberry: Real Life Reflections
One of the most famous movements of the 20th century was the Civil Rights Movement. Before that, people of the black race were not treated as fair as the people of the white race were. But in the 1950s and 1960s, people started to protest and fight for a change in the racist law system. Two stories that reflected on unfair treatment of the blacks were the novel To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) and the play A Raisin in the Sun (1959). Movie versions of both stories were released within a few years of when these stories were written. To Kill a Mockingbird was set in 1930s Alabama, where a black man, Tom Robinson, was accused of raping a white woman. Atticus Finch, a white lawyer, comes to the defense of Tom Robinson, believing that all men are created equal. His son, Jem, and his daughter, Scout, witness the evil of racism throughout this trial. Tom Robinson is eventually declared guilty by an all white jury, because he was black. A Raisin in the Sun was set in the time that the play was first written, which was 1959, and it was set in Chicago. This story is set around the Younger family, a black family who lives in a low class tenant. Walter has worked as a chauffeur for years. This family dreams of a better life and Lena “Mama”, the head of the family finally buys a house with insurance money, which is the life savings money from her husband’s death. This house happens to be in a white neighborhood, and the Younger family begins to meet with discrimination as they plan to move in. Both of these plots are completely fictional, but are based on real life people and events, much of what happened in the authors’ own lives. Basically, Lorraine Hansberry and Harper Lee relate real life facts into their stories through location, characters, and events.

To start with, both authors were born very close to where their stories took place. Harper Lee was born in Monroeville, Alabama....
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