Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird: New Essays

Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird: New Essays

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by Michael J. Meyer
     
 

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In 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird was published to critical acclaim. To commemorate To Kill a Mockingbird's 50th anniversary, Michael J. Meyer has assembled a collection of new essays that celebrate this enduring work of American literature. These essays approach the novel from educational, legal, social, and thematic perspectives.

Harper Lee's only novel

Overview

In 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird was published to critical acclaim. To commemorate To Kill a Mockingbird's 50th anniversary, Michael J. Meyer has assembled a collection of new essays that celebrate this enduring work of American literature. These essays approach the novel from educational, legal, social, and thematic perspectives.

Harper Lee's only novel won the Pulitzer Prize and was transformed into a beloved film starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch. An American classic that frequently appears in middle school and high school curriculums, the novel has been subjected to criticism for its subject matter and language. Still relevant and meaningful, To Kill a Mockingbird has nonetheless been under-appreciated by many critics. There are few books that address Lee's novel's contribution to the American canon and still fewer that offer insights that can be used by teachers and by students.

These essays suggest that author Harper Lee deserves more credit for skillfully shaping a masterpiece that not only addresses the problems of the 1930s but also helps its readers see the problems and prejudices the world faces today. Intended for high school and undergraduate usage, as well as for teachers planning to use To Kill a Mockingbird in their classrooms, this collection will be a valuable resource for all teachers of American literature.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 11 Up—Unlike Catherine Bernard's ZUnderstanding To Kill a Mockingbird (Gale/Lucent, 2003) or "Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations" (Chelsea House), this text serves as a teaching tool and examines more sophisticated issues than earlier anthologies. An abbreviated listing from the table of contents is indicative of the depth and breadth of theses essays: Part 1-"Educational Approaches" includes articles on online discussions, multimedia presentations, and using soundtracks to teach the novel. Part 2—"To Kill a Mockingbird and the Justice System" contains a perspective on Southern Liberalism, the novel's influence on the legal profession, and "Bending the Law: the Search for Justice and Moral Purpose." Part 3—"Themes, Imagery and Structural Choices" looks at "paired characters," reading the book 50 years after publication, fear and Halloween imagery, the "Rigid and Time-Honored Code" of racism in sports, and symbolism. Part 4—"Social Concerns" addresses a variety of ways to view disability in the novel. Most of the 15 essays were written by scholars and educators; a few were contributed by communication specialists and an attorney. The articles regarding online discussions and soundtracks bring a completely new and fresh approach to teaching the classic. The essays on bending the law and how we look at "others" are thought-provoking. Although this excellent collection of viewpoints would be valuable to instructors, the reading level might be challenging for many high schoolers.—Joanne K. Cecere, Monroe-Woodbury High School, Central Valley, NY

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810877238
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
10/14/2010
Series:
New Essays
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
290
File size:
639 KB

Meet the Author

Michael J. Meyer, now retired, was adjunct professor of English at DePaul University and Northeastern Illinois University. He is the author of The John Steinbeck Bibliography: 1996-2006 (Scarecrow, 2008) and The Essential Criticism of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men (Scarecrow, 2009).

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