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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is an award-winning novel, published in 1960.
Through six-year old Scout, her narrator, Harper Lee drew an affectionate and detailed portrait of Maycomb, Alabama, a small, sleepy, depression-era town. The main plot concerns the trial of an unjustly accused black man who is steadfastly defended by Scout's father, a respected lawyer. Covering a period of one year during Scout's childhood in Alabama, the story reflects the details of small-town life in the South and examines the painfully unjust consequences of ignorance, prejudice, and hate, as well as the values of courage, honor, and decency. Harper Lee shows that what appears may not always be real by presenting life like situations during the story.
One of the main themes in To Kill A Mockingbird is “racism”. Maycomb has both a black and white community. Both sides have racial views about each other. When Jem and Scout go to the black church a woman comes out and says, “You Ain’t got no business bringin’ white chillun here – they got their church, we out ours.” (Pg. 119) Both communities are hostile towards each other. When a black man is accused of a crime he doesn’t commit, he is still found guilty because of his skin color. It is stated in the book, “In our courts, when its white man’s word against a black man’s, the white always wins. They’re ugly, but those are the facts of life.” (Pg. 220) However most of the white people agree with this. Most of them think that Tom Robinson is guilty just because of the color of his skin.
The Radley property also threatens the lives of people brave enough to venture near it. The children believe that anything that comes from the Radley's soil is poison, including the nuts and fruits on the trees. Jem yells at Scout once saying about the Radley property: “Don't you know you're not supposed to even touch the house over there? You'll get killed if you do” (pg. 33). Jem also goes so far as to say, “if Dill wants to get himself killed, all he had to do was go up and knock on the front door” (pg. 13) No child has ever died from touching something on the Radley property, yet the children continue to believe it to be true. They envision Boo, Finch’s neighbor who never came out of his house, as a horrible beast that eats squirrels and rats with his bare hands who loves to kill children.
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