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To Kill A Mockingbird

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Autor: 24  •  November 8, 2010  •  797 Words (4 Pages)  •  838 Views

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The History Behind To Kill A Mockingbird

Nelle Harper Lee's novel To Kill A Mockingbird has been considered one of the classic works of American literature. To Kill A Mockingbird is the work ever published by Nelle Harper Lee, and it brought her great fame. However, Nelle Harper Lee has published several other articles in popular magazines. Nelle Harper Lee is not an individual who desires to be in the light and little is known about her personal life. At the time it is believed she is possible working on her memoirs. The fictional work of To Kill A Mockingbird plots many elements close to real events in America's struggle over civil rights.

Scout Finch is the narrator in Lee's work To Kill A Mockingbird, and the two share many similarities in real life. They both grew up in the 1930 in Alabama towns. Lee's father was Amasa Lee "attorney who served in the state legislature in Alabama" (Johnson). Atticus Finch who is Scout's father was also an attorney and served on the state legislature. They both had an older brother and a young neighbor playmate. Lee's was Truman Capote and Scouts was Dill.

When Lee was six years old one of the nations most notorious trials was taking place, the Scottsboro Trials. "On March 25, 1931, a freight train was stopped in Paint Rock, a tiny community in Northern Alabama, and nine young African American men who had been riding the rails were arrested" (Johnson). "Two white women on the train,


in an apparent effort to avoid prostitution charges, claimed that they had been raped by the black youths and these accusations nearly led to a lynching in Scottsboro, where the youths had been jailed" (Jones Ross). The trails and appeals of these youth gained national attention throughout the 1930's and, at one point, all but one of the young men was sentenced to death in the Alabama electric chair.

In To Kill A Mockingbird Lee tells the story of a Mr. Tom Robinson who is an African American who is being charged with rape against a white women. Atticus is the lawyer who must defend Robinson in court. In the Scottsboro case a central figure was a heroic judge who overturned a guilty verdict against the young men. The judge went against the public in trying to protect the rights of the African American men. In reading the novel you learn that Atticus arouses anger in the small community when he tries to defend Robinson.

The Scottsboro jury had failed to include any African American which caused the Supreme Court to overturn the guilty verdict. While in Robinson's case his verdict was rendered by a jury of poor white southern. "I don't know [how they could convict Tom Robinson], but they did it. They've done it before and they did it tonight and they'll do it again and when they do it--seems that only children weep" (Lee)

The conviction of Tom Robinson was an eye opening experience to Scout and Jem.


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