Why is Harper Lee's writing famous?

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I assume you have read, To Kill a Mockingbird. In that case, let's focus on To Kill a Mockingbird to explore why Harper Lee is such a renowned author. The novel has sold millions of copies; it is taught in school districts all over the country; and it usually ends up on a lot of readers' lists of "Top Ten Favorite Books." There are a lot of reasons why it is famous. 

What did you like about the book?  Here are some things to think about as you decide why the book is so popular, thus making Harper Lee famous.

  • The characters—The development of interesting, credible characters is one thing that makes the book popular.  People identify with Scout, Jem, and Atticus, and enjoy trying to figure out everything they can about Boo Radley.  They are honest and real characters.  Readers also enjoy trying to figure out what motivates characters like Mayella Ewell, Bob Ewell, and even Mrs. Dubose.
  • Plot—From the childhood play to the seriousness of the Tom Robinson trial, the novel is exciting and suspenseful.
  • Themes—To Kill a Mockingbird has many universal themes—racism, honor, pride, growing up, innocence, sacrifice, to name a few.  Readers, again, can identity with these themes and learn from the ideas developed throughout the novel.
  • Writing style—The narrator is a young girl looking back on her childhood.  The writing is fresh, entertaining, and, most of all, beautifully descriptive. 

Once you decide what you think makes the book a universally popular choice, you are ready to write your thesis.  Follow the formula:  topic + claim (why) = thesis.

For example, Harper Lee is a famous writer because . . . .   or, Readers buy and enjoy Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird and other books because . . .

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