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Teaching To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee Essay

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To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel written by Harper lee in 1960. The novel tells the story of Atticus Finch, a white lawyer, and Tom Robinson, a black servant, accused of raping a white female. Finch defends Robinson in court arguing lack of evidence as his main point. However, the judge and jury still believe the woman’s testimony and orders Robinson to be killed. The novel has been praised for its outstanding literature since its publication. However, it remains a banned book by the American Library Association for its use of racial slurs and profanity. Due to it being banned, many high schools have reconsidered the notion of teaching it to their students. Two prominent authors wrote articles pertaining to this piece of literature: Angela Shaw-Thornburg wrote an article on her re-reading of the novel and her opinions on it; while Malcom Gladwell wrote an article comparing Atticus Finch to a state governor liberalist, James Folsom, and the restraints of liberalism in the south. In addition, Rebecca Best contributes her thought on how the novel should be taught by introducing the idea of “the other.” Regardless of the modern day political arguments surrounding this piece of literature, this novel contains a large insight into the time period of the 1960s which is an influential topic that should be taught to young high school students.
Teaching To Kill a Mockingbird to a group of high school students can be tricky, but insightful if done correctly. Instead of teaching it in an English classroom like it has been traditionally taught, it can be taught in a political science setting, teaching the students about the political limits in the deep south, utilizing Gladwell’s article. Gladwell uses Folsom, a former Alabama g...


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... white person’s view or about the difference between “the other,” as describe by society then by Jem and Scout. Many different ways to teach the novel may be argued for time to come, but the principle still remains that this novel should be taught to students for years ahead.



Works Cited

Best, Rebecca H. “Panopticism and the Use of “the Other” in To Kill a Mockingbird.” Mississippi Quarterly 62.3/4 (2009): 541-552. Academic Search Complete. Web. 3 Mar. 2014.
Caldwell, Malcolm. “The Courthouse Ring: Atticus Finch and the Limits of Southern Liberalism.” Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird: New Essays. Meyer, Michael J. Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press, 2010. 57-65. Print.
Shaw-Thornburg, Angela. “On Reading To Kill a Mockingbird: Fifty Years Later.” Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird: New Essays. Meyer, Michael J. Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press, 2010. 113-127. Print.



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