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To Kill A Mockingbird Background Power. Point and Notes
Racial Segregation l January 1, 1863: Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared freedom for all slaves. – Intended to weaken the South’s power during the U. S. Civil War – Although slaves were “free, ” black people were affected by state laws that prevented equality – These laws were known as the Jim Crow Laws
Plessy vs. Ferguson Strengthened the already popular Jim Crow Laws l In 1892, 30 -year-old Homer Plessy was jailed for sitting in a “white” section of a railroad car l Plessy was 1/8 th black, but under Louisiana law, he was considered “colored” and was supposed to ride in the “colored car. ” l Plessy argued that his arrest was a violation of the Constitution l Ferguson, the judge, found Plessy GUILTY of refusing to leave the “white car. ” See handout l
Plessy vs. Ferguson After an appeal, the case went to the Supreme Court, which upheld the decision and perpetuated the concept of “separate but equal. ” l This enabled schools, courthouses, libraries, hotels, theaters, restaurants, public transportation, etc. , to segregate “coloreds” from “whites. ” l
“Jim Crow” Laws l l From the 1880 s to the 1960 s most states enforced segregation through the “Jim Crow” laws named after a black-faced character in minstrel shows. Through these laws legal punishments could be imposed on people for having contact with members of another race.
Jim Crow Laws The term Jim Crow comes from the minstrel show song “Jump Jim Crow” written in 1828 and performed by Thomas Dartmouth “Daddy” Rice, a white English migrant to the U. S. and the first popularizer of blackface performance. l A caricature of a shabbily dressed rural black named “Jim Crow” became a standard character in minstrel shows. l
Jim Crow Guide · 1. A Black male could not offer his hand (to shake hands) with a White male because it implied being socially equal. Obviously, a Black male could not offer his hand or any other part of his body to a White woman, because he risked being accused of rape. · 2. Blacks and Whites were not supposed to eat together. If they did eat together, Whites were to be served first, and some sort of partition was to be placed between them. · 3. Under no circumstance was a Black male to offer to light the cigarette of a White female -- that gesture implied intimacy. · 4. Blacks were not allowed to show public affection toward one another in public, especially kissing, because it offended Whites. · 5. Blacks were introduced to Whites, never Whites to Blacks. · 6. Whites did not use courtesy titles of respect when referring to Blacks, for example, Mr. , Mrs. , Miss. , Sir, or Ma'am. Instead, Blacks were called by their first names or by “boy” or “girl” (regardless of age). Blacks had to use courtesy titles when referring to Whites, and were not allowed to call them by their first names. · 7. If a Black person rode in a car driven by a White person, the Black person sat in the back seat, or the back of a truck. · 8. White motorists had the right-of-way at all intersections.
etiquette Blacks were expected to refer to whites with titles of superiority like BOSS, SIR, CAPTAIN, MISS, or MRS. l Whites referred to blacks using derogatory terms like BOY, LADY, GIRL and the N word. l Blacks were expected to let whites walk on the sidewalk and signs reading things like “Negroes and Dogs Not Allowed” were common l
After the Civil War, The Ku Klux Klan was formed as a secret society that promoted white supremacy using violence and terrorism to undo the gains that former slaves had made. l However, after the 1920 s the KKK was no longer secretive about their work and public violence against Blacks, including lynching, became common occurrences. l
After WW 1 Even though Blacks had fought bravely for the US in WW 1, they returned home from Europe to find the same, if not worse, discrimination and segregation. l The economic struggles of the 1930 s seemed only to worsen the situation. l
“Will V-Day Be Me-Day Too? ” …I am a Negro American Out to defend my land… I’ve seen my buddy lying Where he fell. I’ve watched him dying I promised him that I would try To make our land a land Where his son could be a man – And there’d be no Jim Crow birds Left in our sky… So this is what I want to know: When we see Victory’s glow, Will you still let old Jim Crow hold me back? …will Dixie Lynch me still When I return? … Langston Hughes (1902 -1967)
The Scottsboro Trials In 1931, a fight between white and black teen boys occurred on a train between Tennessee and Alabama. l Two girls on a train, one well-known prostitute and one minor, were accused of violating the Mann Act (crossing state lines for prostitution). l They immediately accused all nine black men of rape. l
The Scottsboro Trials l Eight of the nine boys were sentenced to death despite the fact that they were not even all in the same rail car. l Appeals continued for years and only two were acquitted. l See excerpt
The Great Depression (1930 s) The Depression hit the South especially hard l Everyone, seemed to be living in poverty l Americans turned away from the rest of the world and away from each other l During these years of turmoil, discontent started to grow in the minds of Whites and Blacks alike. l
The Great Depression l Overspending in the 1920’s l Stock Market crash of 1929 l President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal l World War II
To kill a Mockingbird l It is in this setting that the novel To Kill a Mockingbird takes place. l In a small town, in the deep South, in the early 1930 s
Harper Lee (1926 -) l To add to the complexity of the story, Harper Lee wrote it during a time of even greater social turbulence in the United States. l In the 1950 s the winds of change began to blow and Black Americans were no longer willing to be treated as lesser human beings.
Harper Lee Born Nelle Harper Lee, April 28, 1926 l Grew up during the Great Depression l Grew up in Monroeville, Alabama, in the heart of the South, where racial tension was high l Dad was a lawyer l Mother’s maiden name was Finch l
Brown vs. Board of Education In 1954, after 2 years in court, the nation was shocked by a landmark decision to grant Linda Brown, a Black fifthgrader, admission into a white elementary school in Topeka, Kansas. l The decision engendered feelings of triumph and outrage across a country that had lived under the weight of racial segregation and discrimination for over 100 years. l
The Winds of Change l Soon, average Black citizens across the country began speaking out against oppression and demanding equal rights. This was the beginning of America’s Civil Rights Movement.
Rosa Parks (1913 -) In 1955, after a long day of work, 42 -year -old Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery County bus l This set off peaceful and violent protests throughout the South. l
Television Changes Everything l By this time, many families had televisions and as images of Southern race riots and violent protests reached into American homes the magnitude of Southern racism began to sink into the American consciousness. l Moreover, the rest of the world began to frown upon America’s treatment of Blacks, and segregation, like slavery, became a national embarrassment for a country who had fought in two world wars as great liberators of the down-trodden masses.
Dr. Martin Luther King (1929 -1968) l Black Hero. Leaders began to rally together Black Americans in order to fight oppression and for a country where all men were truly treated as equals.
Desegregation A national and international call for desegregation of the South rang out and Blacks and Whites all over the country started putting pressure on governments to amend the segregation laws. l Those individuals, both Black and White, who fought for Civil Rights were under constant attack from White Supremacists who were unwilling to accept Black Americans as equals l Many freedom-fighters died for their efforts l
To Kill a Mockingbird In the Fall of 1960, in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement, To Kill a Mockingbird was published. l It shot to the top of the New York Times best seller list. l A country was finally ready to listen to the story of segregation and open their minds to the possibility of an America where Whites and Blacks could live together as equals. l
“ I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. " Dr. Martin Luther King
History of the Novel l Harper Lee’s novel is one of the best-selling books in the nation’s history. l Won the Pulitzer Prize l Translated into more than 40 languages l Been made into an enormously popular movie l Librarians across the country voted it the best novel of the 20 th century.
History of the Novel cont. l Frequently cited by readers as the book that has made the biggest difference in their lives. **Through the lives of children, it allows the reader to walk around in the shoes of people who are different from ourselves. **The novel challenges our stereotypes—of the Southerner, of the African American, the eccentric, the child, and the young lady.
Setting/ Basic Info Maycomb Country, Alabama (fictional) l 1933 -1935 l Written: Mid-50 s l Narrator: Scout Finch l – 1 st person narrator – Use flashback – Tone—childlike, humorous, innocent; as the novel progresses, dark, foreboding, and critic of society – She bases Scout somewhat on herself Scout has matured over the years and humorously comments on the innocence she displayed in her thoughts / actions as a young girl l She mostly tells of her thoughts but focuses on her brother Jem’s thoughts also l
Jem Finch l Scout’s older brother l He undergoes a transformation from innocent child to a young adult who is faced with the realities of living in his small town and what prejudices exist right outside his front porch.
Atticus Finch l Father and only parent to Scout and Jem Finch l Local lawyer like Lee’s biological father l He is the lawyer who is defending a black man accused of raping a teenage girl in the 1930 s during the midst of the Great Depression.
Major Thematic Ideas l Remember a theme is usually in sentence form. These are thematic ideas. – Prejudice—the most obvious – Equal justice – Courage: moral, physical, and mental – Social ostracism (exclusion) – Maturation – Heroism – Friendship – Innocence and what can happen to it
Literary Terms Focus l Allusion—reference within a literary work to another fiction work, a film, a piece of art, or a real event. – Positives: A way of drawing on this outside work / object to provide greater context / meaning to the situation being discussed – Negatives: People may not always understand or know the work or object being referenced l Example – His love for her drove him to stamp out her life like Othello did to Desdemona.
Literary Terms Focus l Symbol: people, places, or things used to represent something else in literature – Personal: certain objects mean certain things to us – Cultural: “Hang on Sloopy” = OSU – Universal:
Literary Terms Focus l Idiom: Meaning cannot be deduced from literal definitions or arrangement of words – Figurative meaning must be used instead l Examples: – Sitting around waiting is making me antsy. – Life has been difficult for you recently, but keep your chin up. Everything will be better soon. ” – He says nice things to me when we’re together, but he makes jokes about me when we aren’t. He’s two-faced. ” – “That really gets my goat. ” (From TKAM)
Connection to Life l Mini-Writing Assignment— 1 -2 paragraphs due by Thursday 01/08 – Think about your early childhood or now l l Were there any houses on your street you were afraid of? Were there any legends or scary stories you were told about someone on your street, family member, teacher, etc. that you believed? Was there anyone you lived near but never saw? Was there anyone at school you heard “stories” about that were not true but you believed and feared? – Think for a few minutes about this mysterious or scary person or experience and write it down. Explain the outcome as well. COME UP WITH SOMETHING!! Make it creative—like a short narrative – ***Must be typed or handwritten in MLA with 4 line heading, header with last name and page number, title, double spaced, etc. ***