In To Kill a Mockingbird, approximately when does the story begin?

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The narrative of To Kill a Mockingbird begins with the fourteenth paragraph indentation that sets off the sentence "That was the summer Dill came to us."

At this point in the paragraph, there is a switch in tense. This switch is to present tense, the tense that is used in...

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The narrative of To Kill a Mockingbird begins with the fourteenth paragraph indentation that sets off the sentence "That was the summer Dill came to us."

At this point in the paragraph, there is a switch in tense. This switch is to present tense, the tense that is used in literary works in order to create a sense of immediacy that draws the audience into the narrative.

The narrative covers a period of time that was difficult for all Americans (the Great Depression) as well as one that posed many problems for African Americans (Jim Crow Laws).

To Kill a Mockingbird is a bildungsroman, a novel of maturation. The Finch children develop both physically and mentally. In their development of new and more mature perspectives, which they glean from various occasions, the children learn the true meaning of Atticus's cautionary words--"try to climb into another's skin and walk around in it."

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The actual story begins on about the fourth page of Chapter 1, when Scout tells us that "That was the summer Dill came to us." The story is set in the early- to mid-1930s. We know this because Atticus states that the year is 1935 during his summation in the Tom Robinson trial.

The story first starts in the future, since the first page of the novel is a recollection by the adult Scout. She mentions Jem's injury from long ago, and she tells the reader that she and Jem still seek out Atticus when they need advice. Since the novel was first published in 1960, we can assume that Scout's remembrance occurs in the late 1950s.

The actual story takes place over the course of about 28-30 months (1933-1935). We know this because Dill comes to visit three times during the summer months. Also, Scout tells us early in the novel that Jem is nearly 10 years old; later, Jem has turned 12 (Chapter 12).

Part One takes place over a two year period, while Part Two comprises a five month period.

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The actual narrative that comprises the story begins when Scout is almost six and Jem almost ten: the significant event that launches the plot is the appearance of Dill, who becomes their summertime companion and spurs their interest in the mysterious Boo Radley.

The novel begins, however, with Scout recounting that Jem broke his arm badly at age 13 and feared he wouldn't be able to play football. This becomes the catalyst for Scout going back in time and remembering the events that led up to this accident.

Scout puts the origin of the story back even further, however, with President Andrew Jackson running off the Creek Indians, which opened up the land for settlement, leading the Finches to migrate to Alabama.

The actual story spans four years during the 1930s.

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The story that seems to begin after an interesting divergent beginning (that goes into history about 10-20 years and almost 100 years ago...) sounds like it is 1932 or 1933. In the first line of the novel Scout tells us that this is the story about Jem being 13 and breaking his arm. We know that he's 13 by the end of the novel. By the end, Ewell looked for the job from the WPA (1935).

When the kids meet Charles Baker Harris (Dill), the introduce themselves and their ages. Scout's 6 or almost 6, and Jem is 10. The trial, is two summers later in which Atticus refers to 1935. This leads me to believe it starts exactly in the summer of 1933.

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If you are asking in what year the story begins, all we can really say is that it begins sometime in the late 1930s.  We can tell this because it is set during the Greate Depression and because the Nazis are in power in Germany.  However, the war is not really going on yet so it can't be in the '40s.  In fact, it can't be anytime after September of 1939 because that is when Germany invaded Poland, starting WWII.

We can also tell that it is not set in the early '30s because the WPA is already in existence and it was not established until 1935.

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The story is told in the retrospective point of view by Scout as the narrator. The adult Scout is looking back, remembering the time in her life in which the events of the story took place. The story as she tells it begins the summer when she is five and Jem is nine. The exact year is not identified, but the story takes place in the early 1930s, when the Great Depression had really set in. This time period is established when Scout makes the reference to having "nothing to fear but fear itself," part of a famous phrase used by President Roosevelt in his first Inaugural Address in 1933.

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The novel is set in the town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the 1930s. You can find more information about the setting, historical context, characters, and the like here at eNotes. Start with the Overview, to which I have pasted a link below.

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