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The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic. Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior - to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.
About the Author
Nelle Harper Lee is known for her Putltzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird, her only major work. In 1999, it was voted "Best Novel of the Century" in a poll by Library Journal. Ms. Lee was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution to literature in 2007. Her father was a lawyer who served in the Alabama state legislature from 1926 to 1938. As a child, Lee was a tomboy and enjoyed the friendship of her schoolmate, Truman Capote. After completing To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee accompanied Capote to Holcomb, Kansas, to assist him in researching his bestselling book, In Cold Blood. Since publication of To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee has granted very few requests for interviews or public appearances and has published no other novels.
Date of Birth:April 28, 1926
Date of Death:February 19, 2016
Place of Birth:Monroeville, Alabama
Place of Death:Monroeville, Alabama
Reading Group Guide
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize"Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."
IntroductionTo Kill a Mockingbird is the story of the early childhood of Jean Louise "Scout" Finch, chronicling the humorous trials and tribulations of growing up in Maycomb, Alabama, from 1933 to 1935. Maycomb's small-town Southern atmosphere -- in which nobody locks their doors at night and the local telephone operator can identify callers solely by their voices -- contributes to the security of Scout's world, just as pervasive forces of racism threaten to unsettle it. Scout's devotion to her older brother, Jem, and her hero-worship of her father, the defense attorney Atticus Finch, infuse this story with an uncommon intimacy and affection. An acknowledged tomboy, Scout -- along with her ubiquitous playmates Jem and Dill -- spends her days lamenting that she must attend school and her afternoons engaged in various schemes to provoke a mysterious neighbor, Boo Radley, to emerge from his house. As Scout, Jem, and Dill become increasingly obsessed with luring Boo outside, they put themselves at greater risk, at one point incurring Boo's brother's gunfire. Scout and Jem's misadventures suggest an idyllic childhood, one tempered only by the rules of their beloved servant, Calpurnia; the standards imposed on them by their prudish Aunt Alexandra; and the particularities of their neighbors, Miss Maudie Atkinson and Mrs. Dubose. Over the course of the novel, both children learn to appreciate the values held by their father, whose boyhood nickname, "Ol' One-Shot," isput to the test in an episode with a mad dog. When Atticus is assigned a case defending a local black man, Tom Robinson, who has been unjustly accused of rape by Mayella Ewell, a poor white woman from a family of ill-repute, Scout explores her beliefs, her father's moral obligations, and the dynamics of her community. As the untroubled realm of her childhood collides with the adult world of the courthouse, Scout discovers that redemption -- salvation, even -- can come from unexpected sources. Discussion Questions