Racism in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Christine Sanderson
Each volume in this series comprises a collection of essays that explore an acclaimed literary work through the lens of the major social issue reflected in it. Racism is the focus of two volumes, including Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Additional volumes include an examination of gender roles in Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, women's issues in The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, and industrialism in Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. Each book contains three chapters: the background of the author, the work and the issue reflected in it, and contemporary perspectives on that issue. Racism in To Kill a Mockingbird looks at all sides of the topic, acknowledging that some applaud the novel's stand against racism while others take issue with its portrayal of African Americans as the helpless mockingbird. Contemporary perspectives include articles discussing the ongoing problems faced by minorities in American society. In Class Conflict in The Great Gatsby, essays include an examination of class snobbery in the author's life and the role of social class in the portrayal of the novel's female characters. Contemporary perspectives feature essays comparing modern society to that of the 1920s including Twenty-First-Century Flappers and The Criminal Class. Each volume contains discussion questions suitable for classroom use. This series would be an outstanding addition to high school libraries. Reviewer: Christine Sanderson
School Library Journal

Gr 10 Up- These titles explore the theme of racism in two modern classics that are required reading in many English classes. In each book, a succinct introduction and time line of the author's life set the context for the work under discussion. These are followed by brief essays on racism from a variety of viewpoints related to the author and the characters and situations in the book (including a section of "Modern Perspectives," in which essays discuss, for example, how Barack Obama's experiences compare to Maya Angelou's). Biographical and critical information about the authors, further readings, detailed indexes, and well-chosen black-and-white illustrations enhance the texts. Most of the essays were written by academics. Students may find some of the language inaccessible or at least unfamiliar as when, for example, Maya Angelou is described in "Jungian archetypal terms" as "the anima" and her brother Bailey as "the animus." Although the essays are not long enough to serve as in-depth secondary sources for students with writing assignments on either book, their varied perspectives offer a wealth of ideas for papers and warrant purchase where demand dictates.-Leah J. Sparks, formerly at Bowie Public Library, MD

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780737739046
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 11/16/2007
  • Series: Social Issues in Literature Series
  • Pages: 209
  • Age range: 15 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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