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

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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 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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