To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee was published on 11 July 1960. It was immediately successful, winning the Pulitzer Prize, and has become a classic of modern American literature. The plot and characters are loosely based on the author’s observations of her family and neighbors, as well as on an event that occurred near her hometown in 1936, when she was 10 years old. The novel is renowned for its warmth and humor, despite dealing with the serious issues of rape and racial inequality. The narrator’s father, Atticus Finch, has served as a moral hero for many readers and as a model of integrity for lawyers. One critic explains the novel’s impact by writing, “In the twentieth century, To Kill a Mockingbird is probably the most widely read book dealing with race in America, and its protagonist, Atticus Finch, the most enduring fictional image of racial heroism.”

As a Southern Gothic novel the primary themes of To Kill a Mockingbird involve racial injustice and the destruction of innocence. Scholars have noted that Lee also addresses issues of class, courage, compassion, and gender roles in the American Deep South. The book is widely taught in schools in English-speaking countries with lessons that emphasize tolerance and decry prejudice. Despite its themes, To Kill a Mockingbird has been subject to campaigns for removal from public classrooms, and is often challenged for its use of racial epithets. Reception to the novel varied widely upon publication. Literary analysis of it is sparse, considering the number of copies sold and its widespread use in education. Author Mary McDonough Murphy, who collected individual impressions of the book by several authors and public figures, calls To Kill a Mockingbird “an astonishing phenomenon”.

In 2006, British librarians ranked the book ahead of the Bible as one “every adult should read before they die”.It was adapted into an Oscar-winning film in 1962 by director Robert Mulligan, with a screenplay by Horton Foote. Since 1990, a play based on the novel has been performed annually in Harper Lee’s hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. Harper Lee continues to respond to the book’s impact, she has refused any personal publicity for herself or the novel since 1964.

Harper Lee also published a sequel Go set a watchman Go Set A Watchmen In 2015. This was originally written before Lee’s only published novel To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) in the mid-1950s. The Novel is set some twenty years after the events in To Kill a Mockingbird, and is written from the point of view of an adult Scout (Jean Louise) Finch who travels from New York to Maycomb, Alabama, to visit her father, Atticus Finch, And the title alludes to Scout’s view of her father, Atticus Finch, as the moral compass (“watchman”) of Maycomb and sees Scout “forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand her father’s attitude toward society and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood.

The title comes from Isaiah 21:6: “For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.” And the novel contains manyof the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird and examines how they are adjusting to the turbulent events transforming mid-1950s America. Go Set a Watchman was written in the mid-1950s, before To Kill a Mockingbird was written, which was published in 1960. Sadly the manuscript for Go Set a Watchmen was Assumed to have been lost, until being discovered in late 2014 in late 2014. It will be published as originally written, with no revisions. Go Set aWatchman is 304 pages long and is described as moving, funny and compelling….

To Kill a Mockingbird was also adapted into an Oscar-winning film in 1962 by director Robert Mulligan, with a screenplay by Horton Foote. Since 1990, a play based on the novel has also been performed annually in Harper Lee’s hometown of Monroeville, Alabama.

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