Harper Lee & To Kill a Mockingbird

Peyton Duplechien • 07 Sep 2012 • 3 min read

To Kill a Mockingbird is a seminal book written by author Harper Lee and information about it is often requested from answering services. Lee was born in 1926 and lived most of her life in Monroeville, Alabama. As an adult, she attended Huntingdon College in Montgomery and later went onto the University of Alabama. She wrote many short stories during this time, focusing on racial inequities and racial problems, which were controversial at the time. While working in New York City during the 1950s she wrote short stories about her life in Alabama and eventually found a literary agent who agreed to work with her.
It took over two years for her to finish To Kill a Mockingbird and she was so unhappy with the finished product that she almost threw it away. Instead, she went back to work, editing the novel that she called Atticus. The book hit the stores on July 11, 1960, and while it started out slowly, sales quickly soared.
To Kill a Mockingbird follows Scout Finch and her brother Jem and father Atticus. She becomes friends with Dill and the book describes the fear they have of a neighbor named Boo Radley. They learn that the man actually leaves them gifts and has affection for them. Around the same time, Atticus takes on the case of a black man accused of raping a white woman.
The entire town revolts against the idea and even attempt to lynch the other man. Scout and her friends watch the trial, which ends with the man being accused despite the fact that witnesses lied under oath. The rest of the novel focuses on Scout and her father coming to terms with the decision even when another man attempts to hurt her simply to get back at her father.
Resources on the book include:

  • IMDB describes the plot of the movie version, the actors, release dates, and other important information.
  • Spark Notes: breaks the novel into different sections such as the chapters, themes, and characters.
  • Biography of Harper Lee: in-depth biography of Lee and how she worked on her famous pieces.
  • Harper Lee: offers basic information and facts about the reclusive author.
  • Who is Harper Lee?: focuses on the author and her reclusive background of avoiding interviews.
  • Gregarious for a Day: details the author’s decision to meet with high school students after years of avoiding the public.

The book itself remains a huge sensation. At least 30 million copies have been sold around the world and it’s still used in many high schools. The book is still challenged frequently as well because of its harsh racial language and some of the themes. Lee was asked the same questions so frequently that in 1964 she escaped the public eye and refused almost all interview requests. Even today she’s only appeared in the public a handful of times.
To Kill a Mockingbird was turned into a film in 1962, starring Gregory Peck. Lee herself visited the set and approved of the production. Peck and Lee became close friends later and stayed friends for years. She even gave him a pocket watch belonging to her father, which he carried with him to the Academy Awards when he won an Oscar for his performance. The book and movie remain favorites of many people today.