The Historical Events Found in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

672 Words3 Pages
The use of events in novels from history is not uncommon. Harper Lee does this in her historical fiction novel, To Kill A Mockingbird. The setting of the book is the 1930s, because this was an important decade of change for America. Harper Lee utilized cultural parallels between important historical events and ideas in To Kill A Mockingbird to show the hardships of the 1930s that influenced corruption of the human mindset.
One of the largest, and most crippling events of the 1930s was the Great Depression. Preceded by a decade of wealth and a carefree attitude, the crash of the economy came as a shock to everyone involved. In the article, “Standards Focus: Historical Context, The Great Depression”, the author points out that “People’s life savings suddenly disappeared, and as a result, people could not afford to pay their house payments or buy food, clothing, or other necessities.” (Secondary Solutions). This shows how helpless families were, and that it was impossible to stand up to corrupt ideas. This idea of poverty are also used by Harper Lee when she describes that the Cunninghams are a family in terrible conditions. In school, Scout tries to defend Walter Cunningham, a son in the Cunningham family, and explains that “Walter Cunningham was sitting there lying his head off. He didn’t forget his lunch, he didn’t have any. He had none today nor would he have any tomorrow or the next day. He had probably never seen three quarters together at the same time in his life.” (Lee 26). The Cunningham family is a dramatic example of the daily struggle of everyone in town to live a decent life. Harper Lee used this idea in her writing because it shows the everyday person had little to no influence on events that were occurring in Americ...

... middle of paper ...

...his in her novel because these corrupt ideas and events were common during the 1930s, and although many people in the town thought it was wrong, none were able to stand up against it because of the widespread poverty. These notions were popular throughout the decade and continuing into history.
The parallels comparing To Kill A Mockingbird to important historical ideas and events in America were used by Harper Lee to show how the corruption of the human mindset was influenced by the hardships of the 1930s. The decade that the book was placed in was a prominent time of change for America. The historical fiction work, To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee is a popular book because it relates the events in the plot to events in history. The use of cultural parallels provides audiences with a strong connection to characters, and makes the novel overall more enjoyable.
Open Document