To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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What is the plot structure of To Kill a Mockingbird?  

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Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird follows the traditional plot structure of exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution (or denouement). This is an effective method for Lee to employ in order to illustrate her themes of racism, inequality, and identity, as the reader sees these themes present in all five phases of the plot structure.

In the exposition, the reader is introduced to the characters (such as Atticus, Scout, Jem, Dill, and Boo Radley) and the setting (Maycomb, Alabama during the Great Depression). The reader views the narrative from Scout’s six-year-old perspective, and tension arises as the reader picks up on racist and segregationist aspects of Maycomb that Scout cannot fully appreciate.

In the rising action, Atticus starts his defense of Tom Robinson, and themes of sin, illness, and death come to the forefront as Atticus kills a mad dog, Jem reads to his sick neighbor, and Atticus explains the sin of killing a mockingbird. Lee introduces these themes in a way...

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