To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird Analysis

Literary Devices in To Kill a Mockingbird

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

Welcome to small town Alabama, circa 1930s. It's a friendly town, with lots of old ladies baking cakes and small-town sheriffs saying folksy things.Oh, and it also has morphine-addicted old ladies;...

Narrator Point of View

Our first-person narrator is Scout Finch, who is five when the story begins and eight when it ends. From the first chapter, it's clear that Scout is remembering and narrating these events much late...

Genre

Coming-of-AgeTo Kill a Mockingbird isn't just Scout's coming-of-age story; it's also Jem's and Dill's. But mostly we hear about Scout. Over the course of the novel she learns to act in a more adult...

Tone

Naïve and ironic? Cue Scout, talking about Aunt Alexandra.I never understood her preoccupation with heredity. Somewhere, I had received the impression that Fine Folks were people who did the best...

Writing Style

Scout's narration usually doesn't comment much on the action, just presents what happens as a series of facts. Here's an example:Aunt Alexandra sat down in Calpurnia's chair and put her hands to he...

What’s Up With the Title?

The title of To Kill a Mockingbird comes from something both Atticus and Miss Maudie tell Jem and Scout: "it's a sin to kill a mockingbird" (10.7, 10.9). We cover the symbolism in our "Symbols, Ima...

What’s Up With the Epigraph?

“Lawyers, I suppose, were children once.” – Charles LambFirst, it's from an essay by Charles Lamb, an English writer in the late-18th and early-19th century. (Check out the original source he...

What’s Up With the Ending?

With Ewell out of the way, it's smooth sailing for the Finches, right? Well, maybe. Ewell's death may end the immediate threat to their well-being, but there's a whole lot of Maycomb out there that...

Tough-o-Meter

Put away those dictionaries, Shmoopers: this one is an easy read. Okay, every once in a while you're going to run across a word like "contentious" (12.52), but this is a book narrated by a someone...

Plot Analysis

Meet Me at the Fishin' HoleWe begin in Maycomb, a sleepy little town in Alabama. The good: our heroes, the Finches, have lived there for generations and feel right at home in their friendly, cozy c...

Booker’s Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Tragedy

Scout and Jem are hanging out waiting for something exciting to happen in the sleepy town of Maycomb, when they get their wish: their dad takes on the incredibly unpopular task of defending a black...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Game OnLawyer Atticus Finch is tapped to defend a black man, Tom Robinson, against the rape accusations of a white woman. Instead of giving in to the norm of his small Southern town and phoning in...

Trivia

Harper Lee only wrote one novel—and she won't write a forward for it, because she's repeatedly said that the novel speaks for itself. Now, we're not arguing with her or anything, but we still thi...

Steaminess Rating

It may be a staple of school book lists, but it's not exactly a Pixar movie. Nothing steamy ever happens on screen—or page—but it does mention rape, sexual violence, and implied incest. Even th...

Allusions

Bram Stoker, Dracula (1.32)Oliver Optic (1.39)Victor Appleton (1.39)Edgar Rice Burroughs (1.39)Tarzan (1.39), (4.96)The Rover Boys (1.39), (4.44)Tom Swift (1.39), (1.68), (8.104)Merlin...

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