Millions of Americans lost their jobs. Many people lost their homes, their land, and their dignity



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  • Millions of Americans lost their jobs.

  • Many people lost their homes, their land, and their dignity.

  • They lived in flimsy shacks and stood in bread lines to receive government handouts of food.

  • At the start of the Great Depression, about half of the African American population lived in the South.

  • Racial tensions increased during this time.

  • In Alabama, as in other southern states, segregation was a way of life.



March 1931 nine African American youths were arrested and charged with raping two white women.

  • March 1931 nine African American youths were arrested and charged with raping two white women.

  • In spite of evidence of the men’s innocence, eight of the nine men were found guilty and sentenced to death. By 1937, after several appeals, four of the defendants were freed, while the others were sentenced to long prison terms.

  • The Scottsboro trials share several similarities with the fictional trial of Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird.



Although slaves were “free,” blacks were affected by state laws that prevented equality, known as the “Jim Crow” Laws.

    • Although slaves were “free,” blacks were affected by state laws that prevented equality, known as the “Jim Crow” Laws.
  • “Separate but equal” enabled schools, courthouses, libraries, hotels, theaters, restaurants, public transportation, etc., to segregate “coloreds” from “whites.”



“Mockingbirds don’t do anything 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 mockingbird.”

  • “Mockingbirds don’t do anything 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 mockingbird.”



Using a literary technique called flashback, Lee interrupts Scout’s chronological narrative to reach back in time and enhance and amplify the story with prior events.

  • Using a literary technique called flashback, Lee interrupts Scout’s chronological narrative to reach back in time and enhance and amplify the story with prior events.

  • As you read, examine Harper Lee’s use of flashback.



To Kill a Mockingbird is told from a first-person point of view-that is, the narrator uses “I” and “me” to describe events in the novel.

  • To Kill a Mockingbird is told from a first-person point of view-that is, the narrator uses “I” and “me” to describe events in the novel.

  • Although the narrator is an adult Scout Finch looking back at her childhood, the perspective is limited to what she saw and felt at the time. Scout recalls childhood events with an adult vocabulary.



At the heart of every novel is conflict, the struggle between two opposing forces.

  • At the heart of every novel is conflict, the struggle between two opposing forces.

  • In an external conflict, a character struggles against some outside force, such as another person, nature society or fate.

  • An internal conflict is a struggle between two opposing thoughts or desires within the mind of a character.



By the end of the novel, try to develop theme statements based on the following categories:

  • By the end of the novel, try to develop theme statements based on the following categories:

  • *Appearance vs. Reality

  • *Racism & Acceptance/

  • Prejudice vs. Tolerance

  • *Good & Evil

  • *Innocence & Experience

  • What does this novel reveal about human nature?



Harper Lee based her character Dill upon the famous actor and author, Truman Capote, who lived next door to Harper. Truman was raised by his cousins in a similar manner as Dill. Truman is famous for his works In Cold Blood and Breakfast at Tiffany's.

  • Harper Lee based her character Dill upon the famous actor and author, Truman Capote, who lived next door to Harper. Truman was raised by his cousins in a similar manner as Dill. Truman is famous for his works In Cold Blood and Breakfast at Tiffany's.

  • Harper Lee is a descendant of Robert E. Lee.

  • Ewell is an old form of the word e-v-i-l, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.







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