Essay on Prejudice in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

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Prejudice in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ was written by Harper Lee in 1960. Nelle
Harper Lee was born on April 28, 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama, a city of about 7,000 people. She studied law at the University of Alabama and one year at Oxford University. After giving up working as a clerk for an airline she moved into a cold-water apartment in New York to concentrate on writing. She first handed this book to a publisher in
1957 but it was rejected so she took two further years to rework it before it was published as ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ in 1960.

The book tells a story very similar to Lee’s own childhood. The town in which it is set is a small southern town just like her own with the
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'To Kill a Mockingbird' is written in first person narrative and from the viewpoint of a young tomboy called Scout. It is the story of a young girl growing up in a small town in the South of America. The town is typical of the South but Scout lives in a very fair-minded household where, through mistakes of herself and others, learns many lessons and grows. The story takes us from Scout at a young age to
Scout as an adult looking back on her childhood.

It is set in the time of The Great Depression, an economic low which many of it’s characters suffer from. It’s relevance to 'To Kill a
Mockingbird' may be that the white people in Maycomb first experienced the level of poverty at which most black people lived and therefore feel more vulnerable, making them more defensive.

The principle characters are an educated white family living in a prejudiced world. The narrator is Jean Louise Finch, known as Scout to most people. She spends nearly all of her time with her brother, four years her senior, Jeremy Atticus Finch, or Jem. Their mother died when
Scout was two but they live with their father, Atticus Finch. Atticus is an older father than most but does his best at bringing up his two children with no mother. He is a lawyer and is renowned for defending black people. Calpurnia, their black cook, played a major role in the rearing and nurture of the children. She taught them many vital lessons and cared for them as her
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