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To Kill a Mockingbird

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  1. Introduction
  2. The first part of the novel: Lighthearted and sentimental
  3. The second part of To Kill a Mockingbird
  4. The controversy surrounding the use of To Kill a Mockingbird in schools
  5. The important themes in the book
  6. Conclusion
  7. Works cited

"Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mocking bird," explains Miss Maudie in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. This is a simple concept to understand but it becomes a very complex and unifying metaphor in this novel. The action of the story centers about two particular characters. The first is Boo Radley who is a rarely seen neighbor that the community gossips about. He has been locked away from the world, by his father, for much of his life. The community propagates stories of him only coming out at night to hunt animals for food. The children both delight in and fear Boo Radley. Scout, Jem, and Dill spend their summer peeking in the Radley's windows and trying to make a connection with Boo. The children do forge a friendship with Radley. He leaves little gifts for them in a hole in a tree along a street. In this part of the novel "the emphasis is on people of a race and culture different from that of the Finch children, but it also includes the eccentric Boo Radleys of the world who are so different from the people we are "(Johnson 2).

[...] The second part of To Kill a Mockingbird is strikingly different from the first. It makes good use of the setting and tells the story of Tom Robinson. Tom Robinson is a black man accused of raping a white woman. He is placed on trial, proved innocent but is murdered just the same. Atticus is the lawyer defending Tom. When Atticus, in court, reveals "it is her father who (probably) has raped her as well as beat her; his nastiness is almost over the top as a Negro-hating, drunken redneck and incestuous father."(White and Kahn 232). [...]


[...] Guterson who wrote Snow Falling on Cedars was inspired by Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and states other book had such an enormous impact,? he said. read it 20 times in 10 years and it never got old, only richer, deeper and more interesting.?"(Foerstel 158). In a research pool of 5000 people, they were asked to list the top three books that made a difference; To Kill a Mockingbird was second only to the Bible (Johnson xi). "The novel sold 500,000 copies in its first year and was translated into ten languages. [...]

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