What is unusual about the novel To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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  • The novel won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961 for its author, Harper Lee. Lee never wrote another novel--probably unique for Pulitzer winners.
  • Harper Lee, who is still living, refuses all interviews and discussions about To Kill a Mockingbird.
  • The film version won the Best Actor Oscar for Gregory Peck. His portrayal of Atticus Finch is considered one of the greatest in the history of cinema.
  • The film version is considered such a perfect complement to the novel that no other remakes have ever been considered. After all, who could follow Peck's portrayal of Atticus?
  • The novel is fictional, but it is based on huge doses of Harper Lee's own personal life as a child.
  • The character, Dill, is based on real-life writer, Truman Capote--Lee's summer friend in Monroeville, Alabama.
  • The story is told by the very young Scout Finch, an unusual choice for narrator. It includes first-person narratives from both her child and future adult perspectives.
  • One of the primary characters, Boo Radley, only makes one appearance--and that at the very end of the novel.
  • The main plot of the second half of the novel, that of the trial of Tom Robinson, details the rape of a white woman by a black man--a highly sensitive subject even in 1960.
  • More questions are asked about To Kill a Mockingbird¬†on eNotes than any other piece of literature.

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