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To Kill a Mockingbird (Greenhaven Press Literary Companion to American Literature) Paperback – January, 2000

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Series: Greenhaven Press Literary Companion to American Literature
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Greenhaven Press (January 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565105753
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565105751
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,153,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
I do not think of Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" as the greatest novel in American literary history (Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn" and John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath" are the contenders for that honor), but it is my favorite American novel. Recently it has become the focus of civic reading programs, as it is now here in Duluth (obviously, it avoids the controversial language of Twain or the symbolic final image of Steinbeck). After reading the book this volume of "Readings on 'To Kill a Mockingbird'" will offer readers of Lee's novel some interesting perspectives.
After a brief biography of Harper Lee, there are four main units to this volume. First, there is The Critical Reception to the novel, which includes contemporary reviews from "Time" and "Christian Century" as well as a consideration from a book looking at Pulitzer Prize novels, which consider it to be a better-than-average first novel although not without "fatal flaws" (e.g., no realistic characters with whom the reader can identify). Second, there is a look at the Literary Techniques in the novel, which consists of three essays all of which look at symbols: the mad dog, the mockingbird, and racism. Third, is a treatment of Social Issues in the novel, covering how it teaches moral values, raises issues about gender roles, shows the difference between legal codes and human perceptions of justice, and a controversy over having the novel censored by a Virginia school board in 1966. Fourth, the Character of Atticus Finch is debated in four essays, two of which argue he is a heroic figure and two which take the opposite position. The back of the book includes a look at the Characters and Plot of the novel, as well as a chronology of the author, her novel and the times in which they lived.
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