To Kill a Mockingbird Study Guide
To Kill a Mockingbird: Chapter Summaries
To Kill a Mockingbird: Themes
To Kill a Mockingbird: Characters
To Kill a Mockingbird: Analysis
To Kill a Mockingbird: Quotes
To Kill a Mockingbird: Critical Essays
To Kill a Mockingbird: Multiple-Choice Quizzes
To Kill a Mockingbird: Questions & Answers
To Kill a Mockingbird: Introduction
To Kill a Mockingbird: Biography of Harper Lee
Introduction to To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee. Published in 1960, it was an instantaneous success, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and numerous other awards. Six-year-old Scout’s narration blends innocence, compassion, and a stubborn sense of justice into a compelling story that imparts valuable lessons about morality and the unexpected complexities of life. The novel was adopted for study in classrooms as early as 1963, with many educators feeling that the novel’s focus on racial inequality, justice, and the nature of courage would connect with young readers. It has since become a mainstay in English classrooms and is one of the most beloved and frequently taught books in the United States. Furthermore, Scout’s father, Atticus Finch, has become a cultural icon, inspiring generations of lawyers and legal scholars to uphold justice and fight for a more equitable world.
To Kill a Mockingbird played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Although Lee was not directly involved in the movement, the novel’s publication in 1960 helped spark discussions among both white and Black readers about racial tensions and injustice, especially in the rural South. The novel’s cast of sympathetic characters express progressive beliefs about race and class, whereas the more villainous characters are openly racist and classist. Furthermore, Atticus’s decision to defend Tom Robinson, despite knowing what it would cost him and his family, has gone down in literary history as an example of bravery in the face of a corrupt justice system.
A Brief Biography of Harper Lee
Harper Lee (1926–2016) was born Nelle Harper Lee in Monroeville, Alabama. Her best friend growing up was Truman Capote, the author of In Cold Blood and Breakfast at Tiffany's. Both moved to New York City, where they found success as writers. Lee published To Kill A Mockingbird in 1960, and the novel has since gone on to become one of the most widely read books in all of history. Although Lee never married, she was not reclusive. Known for being pleasant and witty, she granted a few interviews when To Kill a Mockingbird appeared in 1960, but afterward she fought fiercely to stay out of the public eye. For years, there was much speculation about her inaccessibility and why she completed only one book. 2015, however, saw the release of a second book of Lee’s, Go Set a Watchman, which is considered to be the first—and very different—draft of To Kill a Mockingbird.