To Kill a Mockingbird at a Glance
In To Kill a Mockingbird, author Harper Lee uses memorable characters to explore civil rights and racism in the segregated Southern United States of the 1930s. Told through the eyes of Scout Finch, you learn about her father Atticus Finch, an attorney who hopelessly strives to prove the innocence of a black man unjustly accused of rape; and about Boo Radley, a mysterious neighbor who saves Scout and her brother Jem from being killed.
The three most important aspects of To Kill a Mockingbird:
- The title of To Kill a Mockingbird refers to the local belief, introduced early in the novel and referred to again later, that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird. Harper Lee is subtly implying that the townspeople are responsible for killing Tom Robinson, and that doing so was not only unjust and immoral, but sinful.
- The events of To Kill a Mockingbird take place while Scout Finch, the novel’s narrator, is a young child. But the sophisticated vocabulary and sentence structure of the story indicate that Scout tells the story many years after the events described, when she has grown to adulthood.
To Kill a Mockingbird is unusual because it is both an examination of racism and a bildungsroman. Within the framework of a coming-of-age story, Lee examines a very serious social problem. Lee seamlessly blends these two very different kinds of stories.