To Kill a Mockingbird Questions and Answers
by Harper Lee

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Why Did Harper Lee Wrote The Novel To Kill A Mockingbird

What influenced Harper Lee to write the novel To Kill a Mockingbird?

There are several influences throughout Harper Lee's life, some outlined in her autobiography Mockingbird, that possibly helped her write To Kill A Mockingbird, including a case in her hometown Monroeville, in which a white woman falsely accused a black man, Walter Lett, of raping her. The story was covered in her father's newspaper. Her father was an editor but also an attorney, and he once defended two black men accused of killing a white storeowner, a case which probably inspired her, as well, especially in creating the character Atticus. 


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In writing To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee was most probably motivated by a desire to explore some of the themes associated with growing up in a small Southern town, such as the persistence of racial prejudice, both official and unofficial. And she clearly believed that the best way of doing this was through a semi-autobiographical approach.

Had Harper Lee used a more didactic approach in her writing—that is to say, attempting to teach her readers a moral lesson—then it's likely that she would've been much less effective. For the most part, people don't take kindly to being preached at, and so if a writer has something important to say, then it's generally much better for them to do through the medium of recognizable characters with whom we can identity.

That's what Harper Lee does in To Kill a Mockingbird . She expertly presents the reader with a whole range of issues, some complex, some less so, through the lives of ordinary folk in a regular small Southern town during the Great...

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hadjartahax | Student

Many things influenced her, here are some main things:

Harper Lee’s mother was Frances Cunningham Finch. Lee uses all three of her mother’s names for characters in To Kill a Mockingbird.

When Lee was in nursery, she met a boy called Truman Streckfus. Lee and Truman got very close and the two bonded instantly. Lee based her character of Dill, the oddly articulate child fabulist, on her good friend Truman.

Monroeville, the town where Harper Lee lived in, was a small town, similar in many ways to Maycomb, Alabama, the setting of To Kill a Mockingbird. Both had stately courthouses, neighbors who knew everyone's business, and a mysterious, reclusive resident who fascinated and terrified local children. Lee has stated that Mockingbird was not an autobiographical novel, but that she borrowed scenes and characters from her childhood to flesh out Maycomb's landscape. Lee got a lot or insperation from her town.

Harper Lee's father was a lawyer like Scout's father. Lee's Father once defended two black men, a father and son, who were accused of murdering a white store clerk. Like Atticus Finch, he was unable to secure an acquittal for his defendants and the two men were hanged. Soon after, he left criminal law to become a title lawyer.

These are the main things I know, I hope ot helped.

krishna-agrawala | Student

I will give my view on this topic based only on the information available in the novel itself. I will not use any additional information available on Lee Harper.

As it appears to me the central purpose of the novel is to highlight the injustice of racial discrimination that existed during late 1930's in places like Maycomb. This has been done in a way that does not label anyone as a villain. Also, the novel is full of moral advice, primarily given through behavior and talks of Atticus.

billybobberkey | Student

 Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird  was loosely based on her own life. the Tom Robinson case was similar to the  scottsboro case that went to court in her home town of Monroeville, ALabama. if you notice in the book,TOm stands before a all white jury . In the Scottsboro case, all nine men were standing before a  all white jury .  they were unfairly   convicted.Only one of the nine  escaped with only a 1-2 in prison .