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Learn about Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1960 novel To Kill A Mockingbird



Transcript

To Kill a Mockingbird

What is To Kill a Mockingbird about?

Set in fictional Maycomb, Alabama, To Kill a Mockingbird centres on the awakening of a young girl, Jean Louise ("Scout") Finch, to racism and prejudice in her town. When one of the town's black residents is falsely accused of a crime against a white woman, Scout's father, Atticus Finch, agrees to defend the young man.

Meanwhile, Scout and her brother take part in their own smaller drama surrounding the town's recluse, Arthur ("Boo") Radley.

What inspired Harper Lee to write To Kill a Mockingbird?

It's believed that Harper Lee was inspired by her own life growing up in Monroeville, Alabama. The plot of To Kill a Mockingbird is reportedly based on a trial where Lee's father—a lawyer like Atticus Finch—served as a defense counsel for two African American men accused of murdering a white storekeeper.

How did people respond to To Kill a Mockingbird?

When it was published in 1960, initial critical responses to To Kill a Mockingbird were mixed, but its popularity grew. The book sold over 500,000 copies in its first year of publication.

Lee received the Pulitzer Prize in fiction, and the book was adapted into a film, which won three Academy Awards. Today the book remains popular and is part of many high-school English curricula.

Why is To Kill a Mockingbird a significant text?

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the best-known and most widely read books in the United States. It's been translated into 40 languages, has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide, and is a staple on U.S. high-school reading lists.
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