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Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird is the story of a young girl's awakening to the prejudices and hypocrisies of small town life. Jean Louis Finch, known as Scout, lives in the small south Alabama town of Maycomb with her widowed father Atticus, a lawyer, and her older brother Jem. The family is cared for by a black servant named Calpurnia. The action of the story takes place over several years. But it centers around a trial that happens in the last year of the story. Lee tells the story from the point of view of the adult Jean Louis. For the most part, however, she restricts the information to what Scout herself knew at the time. Thus most information is either what Scout witnessed or what is told to her by other characters. The adult voice also interjects occasional remarks about her later understanding of events. Events that might be imperfectly understood by Scout are often perfectly clear to the reader and time seems to stretch out and occupy more of the space of the book as Scout gets older and understands more. Eventually Scout has learned enough to explain a situation to her father in the adult terms he used when he told her that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird since they do no harm and merely provide people with beautiful music.

The entire novel is about the discoveries that Scout makes about the world. They are often confusing to her but frequently they are things that are confusing to adults as well. Scout, for example, can read anything but when she gets to her first day of school the teacher is shocked to find that her father has taught her to read. He is not a teacher and is, therefore, teaching her improperly. Her father suggests that she go along with the teacher at school. They will go on reading as they always have and simply not mention it to the "more learned authorities" (36). Her father teaches her the value of compromising but he is also teaching her the beginnings of social hypocrisy in ke...

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Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 21:28, July 01, 2022, from