To Kill a Mockingbird

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Austin Swain
AP US History
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1960. Print. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee tells the story of two kids growing up in Alabama during the Depression and how a series of events forced them to grow up, taught them about good values and morals, and made them better human beings. Lee examines racism and other prejudices through a page turning story told in an extraordinarily southern tone. Growing up in Monroeville, Alabama during the Depression Era makes Lee more than capable of being qualified to write a novel such as this one. Lee’s attempt to portray a story of discrimination was well executed. The majority of the town discriminated against Tom Robinson simply because he was black so they automatically believed that he raped Mayella Ewell. Arthur “Boo” Radley was also discriminated against. The children teased Radley and embarrassed him only because they thought he was scary because he never left his home or showed his face. Lee shows that forms of discrimination that exist today still had an impact during that time period, making To Kill a Mockingbird a timeless classic. Other themes exemplified in the novel are poverty, power, inequity, and how one man attempted to change the status quo. Ultimately, Lee’s purpose was to stand up for what you believe is right. The story that constitutes almost the entirety of To Kill a Mockingbird is set in the time between Scout Finch’s fifth and ninth birthdays, but Scout presumably commences the first-person narrative that opens the novel much later in her life. As a result, the narrative voice fluctuates between the child’s point of view, chronicling the events as they happen, and the adult voice, looking back on her childhood many years later. The child’s naïve voice dominates the central plot, allowing the reader to make connections and understand events in a way that the young Scout does not. At the same time, the narrative often digresses into...
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