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A Brief Summary of To Kill a Mockingbird

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This is a novel authored by Harper Lee and was published in 1960. The plot, as well as the characters, are superficially based on the author’s observations of her family, neighbors and a major occurrence close to her hometown, Monroeville, Alabama in the year 1936. The major issues discussed are racial inequality and rape.

The story of To Kill a Mockingbird occurs within the fictitious town of Maycomb in the state of Alabama. This is during the great depression. The protagonist is known as Jean Louise Finch. This is a bright girl who does not conform to the norms at the time. Her age ranges from six to nine years in the course of the novel. She is raised by Atticus Finch, who is her widowed father and they live together with her brother Jeremy Atticus, also known as Jem. Her father is a prominent lawyer who places much emphasis on empathy. He encourages all his children always to uphold justice and empathy. He states that it is sinful To Kill a Mockingbird in that those creatures are harmless and innocent.

One day, Tom Robinson, one of the town’s black residents gets falsely accused of defiling a white woman by the name Mayella Ewell. Atticus decides to be his defense attorney despite being issued with threats from the public. At one point he stands up to a mob seeking to lynch his client and unwittingly calms down the situation. Even though Atticus puts forward a solid defense case through evidence that her father named Bob Ewell indeed assaulted the white woman, Robinson is nevertheless convicted. He is after that killed while attempting to escape custody. One of the characters compares this death to the senseless slaughter of a songbird.
Meanwhile, children play out their miniaturized form of the drama of superstition and prejudice. They develop an interest in Arthur Radley, also known as boo. This is a withdrawn neighbor deemed as a local legend. The children have their ideas about him, and they find the idea of trespassing his property irresistible. The suspicions they have are dependent on the acts of dehumanization carried out by their elders.

However, Atticus cautions them and attempts to instill a more sensitive attitude towards others. Boo begins committing benevolent acts to gain the favor of the people and finally intervenes when scout and Jem get attacked by Bob Ewell. However, Ewell is killed by Boo, but the sheriff, Heck Take decides to claim that Ewell died through falling upon his knife to save Boo’s face. Scout then agrees that failure to defend Boo would be similar to shooting a Mockingbird.

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