In what instances do the characters in to Kill a Mockingbird represent real life characters due to the New Deal and the Great Depression?
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Harper Lee seems to want to keep the big historical happenings of the time very much in the background of the novel. This is partly because she wants us to view events through the eyes of children to whom politics and important contemporary events would have been of little interest and really would have been just background noise in their lives. She may also have wanted to emphasize the parochialism of Maycomb, its remoteness from political centres such as Washington. However, through Atticus and his interest in current events - forever reading the newspaper - we are aware of the New Deal (though I'm not sure if this is mentioned by name), the NRA and so on. Probably the most direct connection of the Great Depression with a character is early in the novel when Scout is discussing Mr Cunningham with Atticus and asks him about being poor. As I recall Atticus says something like the Depression hit farmers the hardest. Apart from that the only other direct connection between a character and contemporary history that I can think of is when the teacher Miss Gates introduces current affairs to the class and Hitler and the rise of Nazism comes into the novel.
It is my understanding that Dill is based on Harper Lee's childhood friend, Truman Capote. Recently (a few years ago) when I saw the movie, Capote, I remember finding it amusing when Harper Lee appeared in as Capote's friend. She was getting her novel published.
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