You are on page 1of 15

Project report

(Legal Methods)

A book review on To Kill a Mocking Bird.

Roll No.2013110


Table of contents


Biography of Harper Lee05
List of major characters..06
Theme of the book..07
Others reviews...10
8.1 Points of
8.2 Writing style..
8.3 Overall review..13

9. Conclusion.....14

1. Introduction

ou read several books for several reasons, some for the pleasure,
some- just to pass the time and sometime when youre seeking
inspiration or guidance. In all the situations all you do is- go to some
book stall or some library to fetch in a book, settle comfortably in your couch
and lick the book from the front cover to the back in a stretch. But it gets
hard when youre asked not only to read the book but also to analyse it and


give your review on it. This piece of work is also a review of an international
bestseller To Kill a Mocking Bird, written by Harper Lee.
A book review is a form of a literary criticism in which a book is analyzed, by
one who had already read it, based on content, style, and merit and
whatever one finds apt. It is based on ones opinion. One evaluates the book
on the basis of ones personal taste. Reviewers often write reviews to
promulgate their own ideas. Books can be reviewed for printed journals,
periodicals, magazines and newspapers, as college work, or for the web sites
on the internet made for the book.
There are many special journals devoted to book reviews and they are
indexed in special databases such as book review index and Kirkus
review also, many more book reviews can be found in newspaper databases
and in scholarly database.
The book has been written


2. Few facts, one must know.



Harper lee has recently settled a New York law suit against three of the
defendants. She sued them in May to re-secure the copyright for her
novel. A court filing on Friday in federal court in manhattan says Ms.
Lees law suit against defendants Leigh Ann Winick and Gerald Posner
has been dismissed. A lawyer for the 2 said- a settlement with the
remaining defendants is likely to be reached next week. Ms. Lee (87)
sued her former literary agents son in law Samuel Pinkus; and alleged
his associates. She claimed they had failed to protect the books
Harper Lee won Pulitzer Prize for her book To Kill a Mocking bird in
1961 at the age of 35.
Harper Lee could not get her degree of law.
To kill a Mocking Bird is the 1st and probably the last novel by Harper

1 Times of India, September 8,2013.


3. Biography of Harper Lee

elle Harper Lee was born on April 28, 1926, to Amasa Coleman Lee
and Frances Cunningham Finch Lee. Harper Lee grew up in the small
southwestern Alabama town of Monroeville. Her father, a former
newspaper editor and proprietor, was a lawyer who also served on the state
legislature (1926-38).
Lee was only five years old when, in April 1931 in the small Alabama town of
Scottsboro, the first trial began with regard to the purported rapes of two
white women by nine young black men. The defendants, who were nearly
lynched before being brought to court, were not provided with the services of
a lawyer until the first day of trial. Despite medical testimony that the
women had not been raped, after six years of the subsequent trails all the
white juries found the men guilty of the crime and sentenced all but the
youngest, a twelve-year-old boy, to death. This case left a deep impression
over young Lee, from which she used several events in her debut novel To
Kill a Mockingbird.
Lee studied first at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama (1944-45),
and then went for a law degree at the University of Alabama but she failed to
get the degree, She worked as a reservation clerk for Eastern Airlines in New
York City until the late 1950s, when she resolved to devote herself to writing.
Lee lived a thrifty lifestyle in her small apartment.
Lee published her first and only novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, in 1960 after a
two-year period of revising and rewriting under the guidance of her editor,
Tay Hohoff, of the J. B. Lippincott Company. To Kill a Mockingbird won the
1961 Pulitzer Prize despite mixed critical reviews. The novel got highly
popular, selling more than fifteen million copies it became an international
bestseller. Though in composing the novel she delved into her own
experiences as a child in Monroeville, Lee intended that the book imparts the
sense of any small town in the Deep South, as well as the universal
characteristics of human beings. A movie was also made on the same book
in 1962, starring Gregory Peck as Atticus.
President Johnson named Lee to the National Council of Arts in June 1966,
and since then she has received numerous honorary doctorates. She
continues to live in New York and Monroeville but prefers a relatively private
existence, granting few interviews and giving few speeches. She has


published only a few short essays since her debut: "Love--In Other Words"
in Vogue, 1961; "Christmas to Me" in McCall's, 1961; and "When Children
Discover America" in McCall's, 1965.2

4. List of Major Characters

o Scout Finch- She is the narrator of the story and the pivot of the novel.
o Atticus Finch- He is the father of Scout and Jem and an attorney by


Jem Finch- He is Scouts elder brother.
Calpurnia- She is Finch familys, black, cook.
Aunt Alexandra- Atticuss sister who comes to live with the Finch family.
Dill- Scout and Jems friend.
Arthur Radely- He is a character, nicknamed Boo, who never steps out

of his house.
o Tom Robinson- A young, harmless black person accused of rape.
o Mayella Ewell- The girl who accuses Tom of rape.
o Bob Ewell- Mayellas Father, a brutal personality who curses and
physically abuses his daughter.



5. Theme of the book

he book, surely, revolves around the major character i.e., Scout and
holds many major and minor themes in itself. The main and underlying
theme is evidently the problem of racial prejudice the black slavery, its
abolition and the subsequent lack of its acceptance in the southern
community. Harper Lee has portrayed the deep-set traditional way of
thinking of the southerners who are unable to accept that the blacks have
been released from the bonds of slavery. So, even if externally there are no
slaves, the blacks have not yet been openly admitted into.
Along with this, Harper has introduced smaller but no less important themes
in the novel- The
legend of the mockingbird, which only sings to please others and therefore
the sense of sin associated in shooting a mockingbird, has been intricately
woven into the plot. Tom Robinsons death is likened to this sin since even
Tom was an innocent, harmless person who would never hurt.
Snobbism is also prevalent in some corner of the theme of the story. It is the
snobbism only due to which the Mayella couldnt seek a companionship with
anyone. The same snobbism comes into the play when Scouts Aunt doesnt
allow her to befriend Walter Cunnigham.


6. Compendium of The Book

cout Finch, the narrator of the story, lives with her brother, Jem, and
their widower father, Atticus, a prominent lawyer, in Alabama town of
Maycomb. Maycomb is going through a Grave Depression. But Atticuss
family is reasonably well off if compared to the rest of the society.
One summer, both the siblings, Jem and Scout befriend a boy named Dill,
who has come to live in their neighborhood for the summer, and the trio acts
out stories together. Eventually, Dill becomes fascinated with the spooky
house on their street called the Radley Place. The house is owned by Mr.
Nathan Radley, whose brother, Arthur (nicknamed Boo), has lived there for
years without venturing outside.
Scout goes to school for the first time that fall and detests it. She and Jem
find gifts apparently left for them in a knothole of a tree on the Radley
property. Dill returns the following summer, and he, Scout, and Jem begin to
act out the story of Boo Radley. Atticus puts a stop to their antics, urging the
children to try to see life from another persons perspective before making
judgments. But, on Dills last night in Maycomb for the summer, the three
sneak onto the Radley property, where Nathan Radley shoots at them. Jem
loses his pants in the ensuing escape. When he returns for them, he finds
them mended and hung over the fence. The next winter, Jem and Scout find
more presents in the tree, presumably left by the mysterious Boo. Nathan
Radley eventually plugs the knothole with cement. Shortly thereafter, a fire
breaks out in another neighbors house, and during the fire someone slips a
blanket on Scouts shoulders as she watches the blaze. Convinced that Boo
did it, Jem tells Atticus about the mended pants and the presents.
To the consternation of Maycombs racist white community, Atticus agrees to
defend a black man named Tom Robinson, who has been accused of raping a
white woman. Because of Atticuss decision, Jem and Scout are subjected to
abuse from other children, even when they celebrate Christmas at the family
compound on Finchs Landing. Calpurnia, the Finches black cook, takes them
to the local black church, where the warm and close-knit community largely
embraces the children. Atticuss sister, Alexandra, comes to live with the
Finches the next summer. Dill, who is supposed to live with his new father
in another town, runs away and comes to Maycomb. Tom Robinsons trial
begins, and when the accused man is placed in the local jail, a mob gathers
to lynch him. Atticus faces the mob down the night before the trial. Jem and
Scout, who have sneaked out of the house, soon join him. Scout recognizes
one of the men, and her polite questioning about his son shames him into


dispersing the mob. At the trial itself, the children sit in the colored balcony
with the towns black citizens. Atticus provides clear evidence that the
accusers, Mayella Ewell and her father, Bob, are lying: in fact, Mayella with
Tom was caught by her father, and then accused Tom of rape to cover her
shame and guilt. Atticus provides impressive evidence that the marks on
Mayellas face are from wounds that her father inflicted; upon discovering
her with Tom, he called her a whore and beat her. Yet, despite the significant
evidence pointing to Toms innocence, the all-white jury convicts him. The
innocent Tom later tries to escape from prison and is shot to death. In the
aftermath of the trial, Jems faith in justice is badly shaken, and he lapses
into despondency and doubt. Despite the verdict, Bob Ewell feels that Atticus
and the judge have made a fool out of him, and he vows revenge. He
menaces Tom Robinsons widow, tries to break into the judges house, and
finally attacks Jem and Scout as they walk home from a Halloween party. Boo
Radley intervenes, however, saving the children and stabbing Ewell fatally
during the struggle. Boo carries the wounded Jem back to Atticuss house,
where the sheriff, in order to protect Boo, insists that Ewell tripped over a
tree root and fell on his own knife. After sitting with Scout for a while, Boo
disappears once more into the Radley
Later, Scout feels as though she can finally imagine what life is like for Boo.
He has become a human being to her at last. With this realization, Scout
embraces her fathers advice to practice sympathy and understanding and
demonstrates that her experiences with hatred and prejudice will not sully
her faith in human goodness.


7. Others Reviews

Reviews by random readers (collected from different websites)



A wonderful piece of literature, great characters, plot and prose. There is sadness and
happiness, racism and equality, immaturity and maturity, injustice and redemption.
Atticus is a man we could all love and look up to a grounded just and fair man he sees
beyond race and finds the goodness in people. His cook Calpurnia is honest good black
lady who you just gotta love in this story, she works for a nice family who are about to go
A lot of the story is told through a young girl and is enjoyable to see things from a young
I read this book a long time ago, when I was ten years old. I remembered nothing from it
except thinking it was really, really good. And here I am, thirteen years later. I picked it
up again because I was curious about what my reaction would be to it now.
The book follows three years in the life of Scout Finch, her brother Jem, their father
Atticus, and their fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, in the era of the Great
Depression. The first half of the novel focuses mainly on Scout and Jem's childhood their friend Dill, their fixation on their neighbor "Boo" Radley, and their experiences at
school. The second part of the book is marked both by the ongoing trial of a black man
accused of raping a white woman, whom Atticus has been called to defend, and the
repercussions this trial has on the children's eventual coming of age.
I loved this book. Both parts of the book are very well-done, and although each seems to
be separate at first, Lee does a great job of weaving in themes from the first into the
second. The children have very child-like perspectives. They do not seem adult beyond
their years. Every character - particularly each of the Finches - is distinctive. I liked how
Atticus shows depth. He is not heroic simply because of who he is defending as an
attorney but his entire outlook on the case and its significance to his family and career.
This book seems so simple, but it's about several things at once - racism, injustice, social


I feel like I had a million things I wanted to say about this book, but I can't remember half
of what they were, mostly because the copy I had was from the library and I had to return
it. Let me just say this: wow. And also, this is going to the top of my very short "mustbuy" list. I may even buy two copies - one to highlight in, and one just to keep.
I avoided reading this, wary of all the hype, seen the movie - so if youre one of the few
that hasnt read it I promise not to harass you by proclaiming that you must! If the



mood ever strikes though I bet youll love it. What convinced me was when a young
interracial couple I know had their 1st child and she insisted on naming him Atticus. At
first her husband hated the name, that is until he read the book... Then his enthusiasm was
so infectious it got to me, that and curiosity. Why does it continue to strikes a chord with
so many? Now that Ive joined the ranks of the besotted (5 stars personal top 10) I
If I could give this no stars, I would. This is possibly one of my least favorite books in the
world, one that I would happily take off of shelves and stow in dark corners where no one


I think that To Kill A Mockingbird has such a prominent place in (American) culture
because it is a naive, idealistic piece of writing in which naivete and idealism are
ultimately rewarded. It's a saccharine, rose-tinted eulogy for the nineteen thirties from an
orator who comes not to bury, but to praise. Written in the late fifties, TKAM is free of
the social changes and conventions that people at the time were (and are, to some extent)
still grating at. The primary dividing line in TKAM is not one of race, but is rather one of
good people versus bad people -- something that, of course, Atticus and the children can
The characters are one dimensional. Calpurnia is the Negro who knows her place and
loves the children; Atticus is a good father, wise and patient; Tom Robinson is the
innocent wronged; Boo is the kind eccentric; Jem is the little boy who grows up; Scout is
the precocious, knowledgable child. They have no identity outside of these roles. The
children have no guile, no shrewdness--there is none of the delightfully subversive
slyness that real children have, the sneakiness that will ultimately allow them to grow up.
Jem and Scout will be children forever, existing in a world of black and white in which
lacking knowledge allows people to see the truth in all of its simple, nuanceless glory.
I think that's why people find it soothing: TKAM privileges, celebrates, even, the child's
point of view. Other YA classics--Huckleberry Finn; Catcher in the Rye; A Wrinkle in
Time; The Day No Pigs Would Die; Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret; Bridge to
Terabithia--feature protagonists who are, if not actively fighting to become adults, at least
fighting to find themselves as people. There is an active struggle throughout each of those
books to make sense of the world, to define the world as something larger than oneself, as
something that the protagonist can somehow be a part of. To Kill A Mockingbird has no
struggle to become part of the world--in it, the children *are* the world, and everything
else is just only relevant in as much as it affects them. There's no struggle to make sense
of things, because to them, it already makes sense; there's no struggle to be a part of
something, because they're already a part of everything. There's no sense of maturation-their world changes, but it leaves them, in many ways, unchanged, and because of that, it



fails as a story for me. The whole point of a coming of age story--which is what TKAM is
generally billed as--is that the characters come of age, or at least mature in some fashion,
All thematic issues aside, I think that the writing is very, er, uneven, shall we say?
Overwhelmingly episodic, not terribly consistent, and largely as dimensionless as the


8. My Review

This book has received numerous of prizes along with the Pulitzer Prize
because of some definitely-it-should-be-mentioned reasons. It has so many
layers. The characters are memorable; Scout as the sassy little scrapper is hilarious, Atticus (from
now, my favorite hero) as a decent man trying to do the right thing- unforgettable. It is one of the
best books I have ever read. It is an excellent coming of age book that deals with the issues of
racism, injustice, intolerance, and bigotry so eloquently. It also shows the love between a father
and his children. With anti-racism at its core its also about being decent & respectful to all
folks, be they poor, elderly or mentally ill.


Points of appreciation

The whole plot of the story is so well woven that it came to life in my mind while reading it. The
only thing I disliked about the book was that it ended, I wanted to read more. Also that the
legend Harper Lee wrote only one book (and still hit the ball out of the boundary).


Writing style

Harper Lee, in her novel, has utilized Scout, a six-year old girl to relate the facts. Yet, the
language she uses is not restricted to her age, for whatever reason may it be, maybe, because that
would have limited the expressions which Harper Lee needed to give to the different characters.
A varied use of language is noticed throughout the novel. There is a difference in the language of
white and the black people. Also at some point it gets clear that the book is being written by the
adult Scout recreating her childhood experience.


Overall review

I feel like I have many more things to say about the book but I dont remember three fourth of it,
probably because I borrowed the book from a friend and had to return it. So, let me just say thisWOW! And also, this is going to the top of my very short "must-buy" list.
My advice to others who have not read the book yet is- Please, get a copy of it and do read it
today itself.
It is seriously awesome, a great story that pulls all your nerves and switches on all your
emotional buttons.


9. Conclusion

Doing the project work, I must say, was a new

experience in itself. The book, as I said earlier, was awesome. It holds
another world with lively characters in itself. The plot woven is so tight and
clear that if one starts reading the book, probably, nothing can distract ones
mind from completing it. One just keeps on reading unless it gets finished.
The overall experience of doing the project was awesome






Harper Lee, To kill a mocking bird.