To Kill A Mockingbird: How Harper Lee's Novel Comments on Our Society

Topics: African American, Racial segregation, Racism Pages: 4 (1535 words) Published: August 22, 2013
Good morning/afternoon ladies and gentlemen. I am head of classic literature at the local University and I have come here today to talk about the way in which the well-known novel To Kill a Mockingbird makes comment on society. “Prejudice - a vagrant opinion without visible means of support.” (Ambrose Bierce) Prejudice has been shaping our world for decades and has the ability to influence preconceived judgment and actions towards others. Famous author, Harper Lee has recognised and demonstrated how racial and social prejudice has played an important role in our society through her world renowned novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Within this novel she has successfully conveyed a message or better known as social commentary, to her audience that judging others on nothing but stereotypes is wrong. To do this, Lee has set her novel on society in the 1930s where strong racial prejudice was extremely common as the social norm and often not unfrowned upon at that point in history. By utilising specific narrative elements such as settings and symbolism throughout the novel, Lee has successfully made social comment on racial and social prejudice and how wrong and unfair it is. To Kill a Mockingbird was written by Harper Lee in mid-1950, during a period called the Civil Rights Movement. Even though the book was published in 1960, it was set in the 1930s and was strongly based around the Scottsboro Trial where nine African American men were accused of raping a young white woman as well as an underage woman. After a number of historic trials which were based on the lone testimony of one of the women, all of the African American men were found guilty and one of the men was sentenced to death convicted by a white jury. Harper Lee was born in April 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama, the same state as the trial and knew of the conditions surrounding it. Growing up she was known as a Tomboy and called writer, Truman Capote her friend. She has studied law at...
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