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Herper Lee‘s only published novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, was immediately successful when it was published in 1960. It won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize the next year and has become a classic of modern American Literature. The plot and the characters are loosely based on the author’s observations of her family and neighbours, as well as an event that occurred near the hometown in 1936, when she was ten years old.
As a Southern Gothic Novel and a Bildungsroman, the primary themes of To Kill a Mockingbird involves racial injustices and the destruction of innocence. The novel is renowned for its warmth and humour, despite dealing with the serious issues of rape and racial inequality.
To Kill a Mockingbird Characters
Jean Louise Finch is the daughter of widowed lawyer Atticus Finch, known affectionately by her nickname Scout. She’s nearly six years old as the story begins, and she’s a tomboy through and through. Scout is eager, inquisitive and observant. Her father teaches her to read at an early age, so she has the ability to soak up information wherever she finds it. She is mature and wise, far beyond her years, which doesn’t always sit well with the adult citizens of Makehome. Even at six, Scout shows herself to be open minded and open hearted. She sees people as individuals and does not prejudge them according to the color of their skin. Scout goes into situations expecting as much goodwill as she brings, and she has difficulty coping with the seat. By the book’s end, when she is nine, she learns to deal with the fact that the world is not as kind or honorable as she grew up believing.
Jeremy Atticus Finch (Jem)
Jeremy Atticus Finch, also known as Jim, is Scout’s older brother, ten years old. At the novel’s beginning, he has a wildly imaginative. He is as wildly imaginative and curious to Scout, especially when it comes to the reclusive Boo Radley, but he also has the capacity to be thoughtful and considerate. Gem is more introspective than other boys’ age, perhaps because he misses his mother, who died three to four years before the events of the book. Gem’s thoughtfulness is characterized by a deliberate and deep ability to think. At times we see the youthful Gem at war with the Gem, who was growing up. This dichotomy or split personality makes his character all the more relatable to readers who are themselves growing up and experiencing changes.
Atticus Finch is a lawyer in Maycomb, Alabama, and the widowed father of Gem and Scout. Atticus is well respected, personally and professionally. He is an honest man with an open heart, a quick and fair mind, and a gentle disposition. At the same time, Atticus is strong and focused in everything he does. His level headedness and legal training give him a solid backbone and strength of conviction, particularly during Tom’s racially fueled rape case. Neighbor Ms. Maudie tells Jem and Scout that Make Home citizens are paying a great compliment to their father by placing faith in him to do the right thing. Throughout the novel, Atticus shows himself capable of living up to that trust.
Charles Baker Harris (Dill)
Charles Baker Harris, also known as Dill, is the six year old nephew of Rachel Haverford, the Finch’s next door neighbor. Jem and Scout meet him at the beginning of the novel when he comes to save for the summer, Bill becomes a good friend to both Gem and Scout. An Atticus and Calpurnia regard him as one of their own. Dill, who is being shuttled among relatives after his mother remarried, protects himself with a vivid imagination. When he hears the story of Boo Radley, he entices Jen and Scout to help him lure the reclusive Boo from his house.
Calpurnia has been the Finch family Cook since Jen was born. When Atticus’s wife died, she became a mother figure of sorts for the kids and a strict disciplinarian. Atticus considers her an integral member of the family. Her presence gives Jem and Scout insight into the African American community and a greater understanding of the racial tension in Maycomb. Calpurnia is a strong character, a bit like a female version of Atticus. While she may not have extensive formal schooling, she has gained much wisdom from life’s experiences. She, like Atticus isn’t quick to judge a rare quality in the racially divided town of Makem. Calpurnia serves as a bridge between the black and white communities. She knows Tom Robinson, which makes the case even more personal for Atticus.
Bob Ewell is the father of Mayella Ewell and Tom Robinson’s accuser. He is Jobless racist and tends to drink away the relief checks that are meant to feed his many children. As the trial unfolds, he becomes even more belligerent and vicious towards Atticus Finch for defending Tom Robinson. He is a racist because it gives him someone to look down on. He has no softness, no kindness and no good will. He is unable to see the value of pulling himself up even when the opportunity presents itself.
Tom Robinson is a black man accused of raping Mayella Ewell, A good hearted man of about 25, Tom is married, has children, and is known to be honest and hardworking. It is Tom’s misfortune to be living in proximity to the Ewells. When Mayella Ewell asks for his help with small tasks, he obliges because he knows her father never helps her. Unfortunately, it’s Tom’s thoughtfulness that puts him in Bob Ewell’s sights where, like the Mockingbird killed for sport, he is eventually destroyed.
Arthur Radley (Boo)
Here we have Arthur Radley, also known as Boo, and he is a reclusive neighborhood legend who becomes the object of Jem Scout and Dill’s obsession.
Miss Caroline Fisher
She is Scout’s teacher and tells Scout not to read anymore. She is a tyical example of how the education system is flawed.
Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubos
She is an elderly, ill-tempered racist woman who lives near the Finches.
He is the son of Mr. Cunningham and the classmate of Scout. He cannot afford lunch one day and accidentally gets Scout in trouble.
Miss Maudie Atkinson
She is the neighbor and old friend of Finch Family. She is a sharp-tongued widow.
He is the elder brother of Boo Radley. He plugs up the knotwhole in which Boo leaves the children gifts.
To Kill a Mockingbird Short Summary
The book opens with the Finch family’s ancestor, Simon Finch, a Cornish Methodist fleeing religious intolerance in England, settling in Alabama, becoming wealthy and, contrary to his beliefs, buying several slaves.
The main story takes place during three years of the Great Depression in the fictional tired old town” of Maycomb, Alabama. It focuses on the six-year-old Scout Finch, who lives with her older brother Jem and their widowed father Atticus, a middle-aged lawyer. Jem and Scout befriend a boy named Dill who visits Maycomb to stay with his aunt each summer. The three children are terrified of, and fascinated by, their neighbor, the reclusive “Boo” Radley. The adults of Maycomb are hesitant to talk about Boo and, for many years, few have seen him. The children feed each other’s imagination with rumors about his appearance and reasons for remaining hidden; they fantasize about how to get him out of the house. Following two summers of friendship with Dill, Scout and Jem find that someone is leaving them small gifts in a tree outside the Radley place. Several times, the mysterious Boo makes gestures of affection to the children, but, to their disappointment, never appears in person.
Atticus is appointed by the court to defend Tom Robinson, a black man who has been accused of raping a young white woman, Mayella Ewell. Although many of Maycomb’s citizens disapprove, Atticus agrees to defend Tom. Other children taunt Jem and Scout for Atticus’s actions, calling him a “nigger-lover”. Scout is tempted to stand up for her father’s honor by fighting, even though he has told her not to. For his part, Atticus faces a group of men intent on lynching Tom. This danger is averted when Scout, Jem and Dill shame the mob into dispersing by forcing them to view the situation from Atticus’s and Tom’s points of view.
Because Atticus does not want them to be present at Tom Robinson’s trial, Scout, Jem and Dill watch in secret from the colored balcony. Atticus establishes that the accusers-Mayella and her father Bob Ewell, the town drunk are lying. It also becomes clear that the friendless Mayella was making sexual advances towards Tom and her father caught her and beat her. Despite significant evidence of Tom’s innocence, the jury convicts him. Jem’s faith in justice is badly shaken, as is Atticus’s when a hopeless Tom is shot and killed while trying to escape from prison.
Despite winning the case, Bob Ewell’s reputation is ruined, and he vows revenge. He spits in Atticus’s face, tries to break into the presiding judge’s house and menaces Tom Robinson’s widow. Finally, he attacks the defenseless Jem and Scout as they walk home of a dark night from the school Halloween Pageant. Jem’s arm is broken in the struggle, but amid the confusion, someone comes to the children’s rescue. The mysterious man carries Jem home, where Scout realizes that he is Boo Radley.
Maycomb’s sheriff arrives and discovers that Bob Ewell has been killed in the struggle. The sheriff argues with Atticus about the prudence of holding Jem or Boo responsible. Atticus eventually accepts the sheriff’s story that Ewell simply fell on his own knife. Boo asks Scout to walk him home, and after she says goodbye to him at his front door, he disappears again. While standing on the Radley porch, Scout imagines life from Boo’s perspective and regrets that they never repaid him for the gifts he had given them.
7 Best To Kill a Mockingbird Quotes
#1 “People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.”
#2 “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
#3 “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
#4 “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”
#5 “Things are never as bad as they seem.”
#6 “I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.”
#7 “Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
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1. Who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird?
Ans. To Kill a Mockingbird, a graphic novel and a popular American classic was written by Herper Lee, an American Novelist.
2. When does To Kill a Mockingbird take place?
Ans. To Kill a Mockingbird takes place during 3 years (1933–1935) of the Great Depression and the Jim Crow Era which reflects the poverty-stricken Alabama.
3. Where does To Kill a Mockingbird take place?
Ans. The novel To Kill a Mockingbird takes place in a fictitious rural town of Mayacomb, Alabama, Southern part of US.
4. What is To Kill a Mockingbird about?
Ans. To Kill a Mockingbird centering round a young girl called Scout is about racial injustice and the destruction of the innocence.
5. How many chapters are in To Kill a Mockingbird?
Ans. To Kill a Mockingbird contains 31 chapters separating into two sections.
6. Who is Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird?
Ans. Atticus Finch, a widower and the father of Scout and Jem is a lawyer in Maycomb.
7. Who is Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird?
Ans. Scout (Jean Louise Finch), the 6 years old girl is the protagonist and the narrator of the novel. She is intelligent and tomboy.
8. Why is To Kill a Mockingbird banned?
Ans. To Kill a Mockingbird is banned due to its negative impact on students on racial slurs, rape scene and use of profanity.