To Kill a Mockingbird
Summary of To Kill a Mockingbird:
In a small town in Alabama, during the Great Depression, Atticus Finck raised his two children alone. A man of integrity and discipline, this attorney was appointed to defend a black man accused of raping a white woman. This brief summary may explain why this book, published in 1960 – at the heart of the civil rights struggle – was so successful and received the Pulitzer Prize in 1961. However, it is not enough to understand why it became a cult book. in the United States and in many other countries.
This is that, while setting the subject in Alabama at the perfect time, Harper Lee wrote a universal novel about a childhood confronted with prejudice, lies, bigotry, and evil. Told by Finch’s granddaughter with a lot of humor, this story is a fairy tale, an American short story and an initiation novel.
Published in 1961 and crowned with a Pulitzer Prize, the novel has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.
“This book is magical. From tenderness, humour, unparalleled melancholy.”
From his real name, Louise-Jean, Scout is a real tomboy, always wearing overalls. From the height of her nine years, she tells us about her everyday life and the events that marked the summer of 1935.
Aged 12, Scout’s brother is a little more reasonable than his sister. But when the mean old Mrs. Dubose insults her father, he decapitates all the camellias in his garden. This will have unintended consequences.
Sometimes a little overwhelmed by his children, who call him Atticus, but not that much in reality, Scout and Jem’s father is raising them alone after their mother’s death. A lawyer, he talks to them about law and justice. For his daughter, he embodies supreme wisdom.
In the summer, he spends his holidays with his aunt Miss Rachel and meets the brother and sister. The year he doesn’t come, the holidays are unbearable for Scout. But it doesn’t last long, Dill runs away, travels, alone, five hundred kilometers by train to land in Scout’s room where he hides under the bed. Atticus is mediating and Dill will be allowed to end the summer at Maycomb.
The Finch’s black housekeeper. She plays an important role in the education of Scout and Jem.
To Kill a Mockingbird: A Childhood in Alabama
To Kill a Mockingbird is set in the 1930s, in the fictional town of Maycomb, located in the southern United States. More specifically, this novel takes place in the state of Alabama, where the author Harper Lee is from. The family of Scout, a 6-year-old girl who is the narrator, comes from a black population that coexists with a more or less well-to-do white population.
Motherless, she was raised by her father, Atticus Finch, who is a lawyer by profession. She has an older brother named Jem. Together they are aided by a black maid named Calpurnia. They consider her a true member of the family. Atticus is very benevolent in the education of his two children. To Kill a Mockingbird paints a particularly glorious portrait of Atticus Finch’s character.
One summer, Scout and Jem meet a boy who has come to vacation in town named Dill. Together they spend a lot of time playing. But above all, they spend a considerable amount of time observing the Radley family home. It is said that in this house lives Boo, a man locked up as punishment by his father when he was still a teenager. Since then, he never went out again.
This man, whose real name is Arthur, does indeed live in this house. Overflowing with imagination, the three children invent bogeyman stories. Even after Dill leaves at the start of the school year, Scoute and Jem continue to be passionate about this story.
The summary of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee continues with a singular epic for children. One day, the children try to approach the Radley residence. The expedition turns into a fiasco when the master of the place strikes them a gunshot which they escape. While fleeing through the barbed wire, Jem accidentally rips his pants and decides to abandon him.
Returning to the scene the next day to find his garment, he found it sewn up and carefully folded. He manages to understand that it was actually Boo who helped him. Likewise, he comes to think that it is he who gives them small presents by hiding them in the hollow of a tree.
The summary of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee then turns to the family life of the Finches. Jem and Scoute are growing up. Their life is punctuated by school, where they turn out to be brilliant students, and games. But they are nothing like other children. Scoute does not want to look like the model woman wanted by society. One day, their father gives them a small rifle as a Christmas present.
He accompanies this present with a fundamental instruction: do not shoot a mockingbird, he says. Of course, they are also prohibited from pointing their guns at anyone. Scoute thinks her father is quite boring, until an event convinces her otherwise. With the sheriff’s weapon, he kills with a single blow a mad dog which has sown terror in the city, arousing the admiration of the Scout.
Harper Lee’s Novel: A Fight for Black American Civil Rights
The summary of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird continues a few years later. The town of Maycomb was the scene in 1935 of a rape committed by a black man, Tom Robinson, on a white woman. Scoute’s father, Atticus, agrees to be her lawyer. This is the beginning for Scoute and Jem of a long series of reproaches and insults. The people of Maycomb are upset that Atticus is defending Robinson.
Scoute is hurt by this hatred. Also, when she fights with her father’s dementors to stop their insults, Atticus asks her to give up her fight.
Jem enters adolescence and distances herself from her little sister, Scout. For the little girl, life is less easy than before. Aunt Alexandra, sister of Atticus, comes to settle in the family home. Much less benevolent than her brother, she tries at all costs to make Scout a model young girl. Life in the home becomes more and more difficult. The arrival of Dill in the house is a ray of sunshine for the children. In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Dill explains that he ran away before joining his friends.
In the town of Maycomb, tension is at its height. A group of white men decide to go to the prison where the accused, Tom Robinson, is to lynch him. Atticus Finch, aided by Scoute, narrowly manages to convince the attackers to avoid the massacre. She addresses them in a kind way and manages to convince them. In this summary of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, the story is told through the innocence of childhood through the character of Girl Scout.
On the day of the trial, all the residents of Maycomb came to witness what seemed to them to be the certain death of Tom Robinson. As a brilliant lawyer, Atticus Finch manages to prove that the accused is innocent. For this, he relies on the state of health of Tom Robinson. The latter, suffering from a disability in the arm, would not have succeeded in committing the rape of which he is accused. Finch also demonstrates that Mayela’s father,
Bob Ewell, is a man with an abject and perverse nature. These arguments do not allow Tom Robinson to fully get away with it, but he avoids the electric chair. He was sentenced by the judge to life imprisonment. Bob Ewell, humiliated, is furious. He announces that he intends to take revenge on the judge and lawyer Finch. Atticus is not afraid, and he advises his children to do the same.
The summary of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird ends with three colorful chapters. Bob Ewell follows through on his threats. One Halloween night, he chases Jem and Scoute through the night with the aim of stabbing them. After a fierce fight with Jem, he falls unconscious. Fortunately, a mysterious benefactor came to help them. This is Boo Radley. Scoute is safe, and Jem has a broken arm.
Boo eliminates the children’s attacker Fintch. By mutual agreement, Atticus Finch and Sheriff Heck conclude that Bob Ewell died accidentally. The summary of To Kill a Mockingbird ends with an unexpected encounter. For the first time, Scout meets Boo Radley. She discovers the true face of the one she imagined to be a terrifying monster.
In reality, Arthur Radley is an innocent man, like Tom Robinson. To Kill a Mockingbird pulls off the feat of role reversal, where the bad guys become the good guys.
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Sources: PinterPandai, Britannica, Study, CliffsNotes
Photo credit: Source: Nate D. Sanders auctions (direct link to jpg) (Public Domain). Author: The credit “Jacket design by Shirley Smith” is found on the left jacket flap. Via Wikimedia Commons.
Photo description: 1st edition cover of To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) by the American author Harper Lee.