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Full text of "Harper Lee's To kill a mockingbird : reader's guide"

National Endowment for the Arts 






"There's no substitute for 
the love of language, for 
the beauty of an English 
sentence.There's no 
substitute for struggling, 
if a struggle is needed, 
to make an English 
sentence as beautiful 
as it should be." 



Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is the rare American novel that can be 
discovered with excitement in adolescence and reread into adulthood 
without fear of disappointment. Few novels so appealingly evoke the daily 
world of childhood in a way that seems convincing whether you are 
sixteen or sixty-six. 

Lee tells two deftly paired stories set in a small Southern town: one focused 
on lawyer Atticus Finch's defense of an unjustly accused man, the other on 
his bright, bratty daughters gradual discovery of her own goodness. For 
many young people this novel becomes their first big read, the grown-up 
story that all later books will be measured against. 

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts 
designed to revitalize the role of literary reading in American popular 
culture. Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America, a. 2004 NEA 
report, identified a critical decline in reading for pleasure among American 
adults.The Big Read aims to address this issue directly by providing citizens 
with the opportunity to read and discuss a single book within their 

A great book combines enlightenment with enchantment. It awakens our 
imagination and enlarges our humanity. It can even offer harrowing insights 
that somehow console and comfort us.Whether you're a regular reader 
already or a nonreader making up for lost time, thank you for joining 
the Big Read. 

c$0^ Hfa*' 

Dana Gioia 

Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts 

Harper Lee 




■ jV**j " '->^x.*y 

'Atticus said to Jem one day, 'I'd rather you shot 
at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you'll 
go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, 
if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to 
kill a mockingbird.' 

That was the only time I ever heard Atticus 
say it was a sin to do something, and I asked 
Miss Maudie about it. 

'Your father's right,' she said. 'Mockingbirds 
don't do one thing but make music for us to 
enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't 
nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but 
sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin 
to kill a mockingbird.'" 


',«*''" ■*:"• 


from To Kill a Mockingbird 














2 THE BIG READ • National Kndowiiicnr for the Arts 

Introduction to the Novel 

Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird 
begins at the end. "When he was 
nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got 
his arm badly broken at the elbow," 
writes the now-grown Jean Louise 
"Scout" Finch in the novel's first 
sentence. By the time Jem finally 
gets around to breaking his arm 
more than 250 pages later, most 
readers will have forgotten they were 
ever warned. This echoes the way 
the whole book unfolds — in no 
special hurry, with lifelike 
indirection. Nothing happens all by 
itself. The book's two plots inch 
forward along parallel tracks, only 
converging near the end. 

The first plot revolves around 
Arthur "Boo" Radley, who lives in 
a shuttered house down the street 
from the Finches and is rumored 
to be some kind of monster. 
Scout, Jem, and their next-door 
neighbor Dill engage in pranks, 
trying to make Boo show himself. 
Unexpectedly, Boo reciprocates their 
interest with a series of small gifts, 
until he ultimately steps oflFhis 
porch and into their lives when 
they need him most. 

The second story concerns Scout 
and Jem's father, the attorney Atticus 

Finch. The local judge appoints 
him to defend a black man, Tom 
Robinson, who is falsely accused 
of raping a white woman. Atticus 
suspects he will lose the case, but 
he faces the challenge just the same, 
at one point heroically stepping 
between his client and a lynch mob. 

Along with its twin plot lines, To 
Kill a Mockingbird has two broad 
themes: tolerance and justice. Lee 
treats the first through the childrens' 
fear of their mysterious neighbor. 
She illustrates the second with 
Atticus' courage in defending 
Robinson to the best of his ability, 
despite the racial prejudices of 
their small Southern town. 

Tying the stories together is a 
simple but profound piece of 
advice Atticus gives Scout: "You 
never really understand a person 
until you consider things from his 
point of view... Until you climb 
inside of his skin and walk around 
in it." By the end of the novel, 
Scout has done exactly that — 
guessed at the pain not only 
beneath Tom Robinson's black 
skin, but also under the fishbelly 
pallor of her neighbor. 

National Endowment for the Arts "THE BIG READ 3 

Harper Lee (b. 1 926) 

If Nelle Harper Lee ever wanted 
proof that fame has its drawbacks, 
she didn't have to look farther than 
her childhood neighbor, Truman 
Capote. After her enormously 
successful first novel, her life has 
been as private as Capotes was 

Nelle — her first name is her 
grandmother's spelled backward — 
was born on April 28, 1926, in 
Monroeville, Alabama. Her mother, 
Frances Cunningham Finch Lee, 
was a homemaker. Her father, 
Amasa Cole Lee, practiced law. 
Before A. C. Lee became a title 
lawyer, he once defended two black 
men accused of murdering a white 
storekeeper. Both clients, a father 
and son, were hanged. 

As a child, Harper Lee was an 
unruly tomboy. She fought on the 
playground. She talked back to 
teachers. She was bored with school 
and resisted any sort of conformity. 
The character of Scout in To Kill a 
Mockingbird would have liked her. 
In high school Lee was fortunate to 
have a gifted English teacher, Gladys 
Watson Burkett, who introduced 
her to challenging literature and the 
rigors of writing well. Lee loved 
19th-century British authors best, 
and once said that her ambition was 
to become "the Jane Austen of south 

Unable to fit in with the sorority she 
joined at the University of Alabama, 
she found a second home on the 
campus newspaper. Eventually she 
became editor-in-chief of the 

The 1930s 

Over 25% of labor force 
unemployed during worst years 
of the Great Depression. 

Franklin D. Roosevelt wins 
presidency with promise of his 
"New Deal" in 1932. 

The Scottsboro Boys' trials last 
from 1931-37. Nelle Harper Lee 
is 6 years old when they begin. 

Jackie Robinson signs baseball 
contract with the Brooklyn 
Dodgers, 1947. 

President Truman ends 
segregation in the military and 
discrimination in federal hiring. 

Harper Lee moves to New York 
City to become a writer. 

The 1950s 

Brown vs. Board of Education 
rules school segregation 

Rosa Parks refuses to surrender 
her bus seat to a white man in 
Montgomery, Alabama. 

Lee accompanies Truman Capote 
to Kansas as "researchist" for his 
book In Cold Blood. 

4 THE BIG READ • National Endowment for the Arts 

Rammer Jammer, a quarterly humor 
magazine on campus. She entered 
the law school, but she "loathed" it. 
Despite her father's hopes that she 
would become a local attorney like 
her sister Alice, Lee went to New 
York to pursue her writing. 

She spent eight years working odd 
jobs before she finally showed a 
manuscript to Tay Hohoff, an 
editor at J.B. Lippincott. At this 
point, it still resembled a string of 
stories more than the novel that 
Lee had intended. Under Hohoff s 
guidance, two and a half years of 
rewriting followed. When the novel 
was finally ready for publication, 
the author opted for the name 
"Harper Lee" on the cover, because 
she didn't want to be misidentified 
as "Nellie." 

Harper Lee, while visiting 
Monroeville, Alabama, 1 96 1 

To Kill a Mockingbird was 
published in 1 960 to highly 
favorable reviews and quickly 
climbed the bestseller lists, where it 
remained for 88 weeks. In 1961, the 
novel won the Pulitzer Prize. 


African-American citizens in 
the rear of the bus in 
compliance with South 
Carolina segregation law. 

The early 1960s The mid-1960s 

To Kill a Mockingbird published 
on July 11, 1960. 

The film follows in 1 962 and 
wins Oscars for best actor, 
screenwriter, and set design. 

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have 
a Dream" speech delivered, 
1963. He wins the Nobel Peace 
Prize in 1964. 

Congress passes the Civil 
Rights Act of 1 964, enforcing 
the constitutional right to vote. 

Malcolm X is assassinated 
in 1965. 

Despite rumors of a second 
Southern novel, Lee never 
finishes another book. 

National Endowment for the Arts • THE BIG READ 5 

Though fans of the book waited for 
a second novel, it never came. Lee 
later researched a book, similar to 
Capote' j" In Cold Blood, about a 
part-time minister in Alexander 
City, Alabama, accused of killing 
five people for their insurance 
money and later himself murdered 
by a victims relative. She dropped 
the project in the 1990s. 

In the meantime, To Kill a 
Mockingbird has sold more than 30 
million copies in 1 8 languages. 
According to biographer Charles J. 
Shields, Lee was unprepared for the 
amount of personal attention 
associated with writing a bestseller. 
Ever since, she has led a quiet and 
guardedly private life. As Sheriff 
Tate says of Boo Radley, "draggin 
him with his shy ways into the 
limelight — to me, that's a sin." So it 
would be with Harper Lee. 
From her, To Kill a 
Mockingbird is gift 

Harper Lee attends a 
Los Angeles Public Library 
awards dinner in her 
honor, 2005 


Friendship of 

Harper Lee 


Truman Capote 

Nelle Harper Lee and Truman 
Capote became friends in the 
early 1 930s as kindergarteners in 
Monroeville, Alabama. They lived 
next door to each other: Capote 
with aunts and uncles, Lee with 
her parents and three siblings. 
From the start they loved reading 
and recognized in each other "an 
apartness," as Capote later 
expressed it. When Lee's father 
gave them an old Underwood 
typewriter, they began writing 
original stories. Although Capote 
moved to New York City in the 
third grade to join his mother and 

6 THE BIG READ • National Endowment for the Arts 

stepfather, he returned to 

Monroeville most summers, 
eventually providing the inspiration 
for Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird. 

In 1948 Capote published his first 
novel, OtherVoices, Other Rooms. 
Around that time, Lee quit law 
school and joined Capote in New 
York to work at becoming a writer 
too. Years of menial jobs followed 
until To Kill a Mockingbird was ready 
for publication. Capote read the 
manuscript and made editorial 
suggestions. Lee, in her turn, 
accompanied him to Kansas to 
help research In Cold Blood. 

After To Kill a Mockingbird was 
published, Capote resented Lees 
success, and could have tried harder 
to dispel baseless rumors that the 
novel was as much his work as 
hers.Their friendship continued 
during the 1 960s and 70s, but 
Capotes drug and alcohol abuse 
strained the relationship. Later he 
would stop publishing and sink into 
self-parody, sponging off high society 
and making endless rounds of the 
talk-show circuit. When Capote 
died in 1 984, Lee confided to 
friends that she had not heard 
from him in years. 

National Endowment for the Arts • THE BIG READ 7 

Historical Context: The Jim Crow South 


Former slaves and their children had 

little assurance that their post-Civil 

War freedoms would stick. By the 

1890s, a system of laws and 

regulations commonly referred to as 

u Jim Crow" had emerged; by 1910, 

every state of the former 

Confederacy had 

upheld this legalized 

segregation and 


Most scholars believe 

the term originated 

around 1830, when a 

white minstrel 

performer blackened 

his face, danced a jig, 

and sang the lyrics to 

the song "Jump Jim 

Crow." At first the 

word was synonymous with such 

then-innocuous terms as black, 

colored, or Negro, but it later 

became attached to this specific 

arsenal of repressive laws. 

During the Jim Crow era, local 
officials instituted curfews for blacks 
and posted "Whites Only" and 
"Colored" signs on parks, schools, 
hotels, water fountains, restrooms, 
and all modes of transportation. 
Laws against miscegenation or "race- 
mixing" deemed all marriages 

between white and black not only 
void but illegal. Almost as bad as 
the injustice of Jim Crow was the 
inconsistency with which local law 
enforcement applied it. Backtalk 
would rate a laugh in one town, a 

lynching just over the 

county line. 

00 puwroftrir Kisusnr, ax«>? ^""^ 




Sheet music cover illustration 

with caricatures of ragged 

African-American musicians and 

dancers, c. 1 847 

Though violence used 
to subjugate blacks was 
nothing new, its 
character changed 
under Jim Crow. 
Southern white 
supremacist groups 
the Ku Klux Klan 
reached a membership 
of six million. Mob 
violence was 
encouraged. Torture became a 
public spectacle. White families 
brought their children as witnesses 
to lynchings, and vendors hawked 
the body parts of victims as 
souvenirs. Between 1 889 and 
1930, over 3,700 men and 
women were reported lynched in 
the United States, many for 
challenging Jim Crow. 

All this anger and fear led to the 
notorious trials of the Scottsboro 
Boys (1931-37), an ordeal of 
sensational convictions, reversals, 

8 THE BIG READ • National Endowment for the Arts 

Top, passengers lined up in front 
of segregated buses at a Louisville, 
Tennessee, bus station, 1943; Above, 
a segregated drinking fountain. 

'Why reasonable people 
go stark raving mad 
when anything involving 
a Negro comes up, is 
something I don't 
pretend to understand." 

in To Kill a Mockingbird 

and retrials for nine young African 
American men accused of raping 
two white women on a train from 
Tennessee to Alabama. The primary 
testimony came from the older 
woman, a prostitute trying to avoid 
prosecution herself 

Juries composed exclusively of 
white men ignored clear evidence 
that the women had suffered no 
injury. As in To Kill a Mockingbird, 
a black man charged with raping a 
white woman was not accorded the 
usual presumption of innocence. 
In January of 1932, the Alabama 
Supreme Court affirmed seven out 
of eight death sentences against the 
adult defendants. A central figure in 
the case was an Atticus-like judge, 
James E. Horton, a member of the 
Alabama Bar who eventually defied 
public sentiment to overturn a 
guilty verdict. 

Despite these and many more 
injustices, black Americans found 
ingenious ways to endure and resist. 
Education, religion, and music 
became their solace and salvation 
until, in the organized political 
action of the Civil Rights 
Movement, Jim Crow's harsh 
music finally began to fade. 

National Endowment for the Arts • THE BIG READ 9 

How the Novel Came to be Written 

Any claims for To Kill a Mockingbird 
as a book that changed history could 
not have seemed more farfetched one 
winter night in 1958, as Nelle Harper 
Lee huddled in her outer-borough 
New York City apartment trying to 
finesse her unruly episodic 
manuscript into some semblance of a 
cohesive novel. All but drowning in 
multiple drafts of the same material, 
Lee suddenly threw open a window 
and scattered five years of work onto 
the dirty snow below 

Did Lee really intend to destroy 
To Kill a Mockingbird? Well never 
know. Fortunately in the next 
moment, she called her editor. 
Lippincotts formidable Tay Hohoff 
prompdy sent her outside to gather 
all the pages back — thus rescuing To 
Kill a Mockingbird from yet another 
slush pile. 

The novel had its origins in Lees 
hometown of Monroeville, 
Alabama — the small, Southern 
town upon which the fictional 
Maycomb is based. Her fathers 
unsuccessful defense of a black man 
and his son accused of murder, in 
addition to the Scottsboro Boys' 
trials and another notorious 
interracial rape case, helped to shape 

Harper Lee in the 
Monroeville, Alabama 
courthouse, 1961 

Lees budding social conscience and 
sense of a dramatic story. 

Along with his legal practice, Lees 
father published and edited the 
town newspaper. His regard for 
the written word impacted Lees 
sensibility as surely as his respect 
for the law. Lee would name her 
idealized vision of her father 
after Titus Pomponius Atticus, a 
friend of the Roman orator Cicero 
renowned as, according to 
Lee, u a wise, learned 
and humane man." 
For a long time, Lee 
called her work in 
progress Atticus. This 
arguably marked an 

| THE BIG READ • National Endowment for the Arts 

® ® ® ® <* [ 

improvement over her first title, Go 
Set a Watchman, but once she 
fastened on To Kill a Mockingbird 
she did not look back. 

Lippincott finally published the 
book on July 11,1 960, by which 
time an unprecedented four national 
mail-order book clubs had already 
selected the novel for its readers. The 
first line of The Washington Post's 
review echoed many similar notices 
that praised the novel for its moral 
impact: "A hundred pounds of 
sermons on tolerance, or an equal 
measure of invective deploring the 
lack of it, will weigh far less in the 
scale of enlightenment than a mere 
1 8 ounces of new fiction bearing 
the tide To Kill a Mockingbird. " 

Eighty-eight weeks later, the novel 
still perched on the hardcover 
bestseller list. During that time, it 
had won the Pulitzer Prize for 
fiction and the hearts of American 
readers. One can't help wondering 
how literary history 
might have been 
different had Harper 
Lee thrown her 
manuscript out the 
window on a slighdy 
windier night. 

"Writing is a process of self- 
discipline you must learn 
before you can call yourself 
a writer.There are people 
who write, but I think 
they're quite different from 
people who must write." 


from a 1 964 interview 

Lee with her father, 1 96 1 

National Endowment for the Arts • THE BIG READ I 1 

To Adapt a Mockingbird 

Mary Badham and Gregory Peck 
review the script on the set of the 
film To Kill a Mockingbird, 1 962 

In 1962, To Kill a Mockingbird 
was adapted for the screen. It is 
often considered one of the truest 
literary adaptations in film history. 

After Universal Studios bought the 
rights to Lee's novel, they first 
offered Rock Hudson the role of 
Atticus Finch. But producer Alan 
Pakula didn't want Hudson for the 
part; he wanted Gregory Peck. 
When Pakula sent a copy of the 
novel to Peck, the tall, dignified 
Californian read it in one night and 
accepted, and the studio agreed to 
finance the film. 

With Peck on board, the next piece 
of business was turning the novel 
into a screenplay. Pakula offered 
Harper Lee the chance to write it, 
but she wasn't interested. She 
pleaded responsibility to her second 
novel and, with characteristic 
humility, said she would welcome an 
experienced screenwriter's trimming. 

Gregory Peck and Harper Lee 
on the set, 1 962 

When playwright Horton Foote 
landed the screenplay assignment 
instead, all worked out for the best. 
Foote's upbringing in a small Texas 
town and knack for scenes of quiet 
dramatic intensity were ideal for the 
project. At Pakula's urging, Foote 
compressed the novel's three years 
into one in order to give the film a 
sense of unity. As Foote has said, 
"That decision was very freeing to 
me. It gave me a chance to explore 
the architecture that she had created 
for the novel and not feel that I was 
ruining anything or tampering 
anything essential." He also 
heightened the intensity of the 
novels social criticism, reflecting the 
growing momentum of the Civil 
Rights Movement. 

In spite of these and other 
significant changes, Lee later 
praised Foote's screenplay: "If the 
integrity of a film adaptation is 
measured by the degree to which 
the novelists intent is preserved, 
Mr. Foote's screenplay should be 
studied as a classic." 

Next, the producers had to find the 
perfect set for Maycomb, Alabama. 
They wanted to film in Lee's native 
Monroeville, which between the 

To Kill a Mockingbird is 
about bigotry... For me 
the most beautiful scene is 
the moment when the 
Judge drops by to ask 
Atticus to take the case in 
defense of Tom Robinson. 
Casually put and casually 
answered, the question 
needed no answer. The 
judge knew it would not 
be possible for Atticus to 
say no. As for Jem and 
Scout, they learn a sense 
of honor from Atticus." 


book's setting in 1935 and the shoot 
in 1961 had lost much of its 
architectural charm. Wisely, the 
design team instead transplanted a 
street of shotgun shacks to the 
studio back lot, and recreated 
Maycomb in Southern California. 

The set designers would win 
Academy Awards for their work, 
as would Peck and Foote. 
Nominations went to actress Mary 
Badham, cinematographer Russell 
Harlan, and composer Elmer 
Bernstein. The picture itself lost 
only to Lawrence of Arabia. 

National Endowment for the Arts • THE BIG READ | 3 

Discussion Questions 

Why do you think Harper Lee 
chose as her novel s epigraph 
this quote from Charles Lamb: 
"Lawyers, I suppose, were 
children once"? 

Why does the adult Scout 
begin her narrative with Jems 
broken arm and a brief family 

How does Boo Radley's past 
history of violence foreshadow 
his method of protecting 
Jem and Scout? Does this 
aggression make him more, 
or less, of a sympathetic 

How does the town of 
Maycomb function as a 
character with its own 
personality, rather than merely 
as a backdrop for the novels 

Atticus teaches Scout that 
compromise is not bending 
the law, but "an agreement 
reached by mutual consent." 
Does she apply or reject this 
definition of compromise? 
What are examples of her 
obedience to and defiance of 
this principle? 

6. The novel takes place during 
the Great Depression. How 
do the class divisions and 
family quarrels heighten 
racial tensions in Maycomb? 

7. Atticus believes that to 
understand life from someone 
else's perspective, we must 
"walk in his or her shoes." 
From what other perspectives 
does Scout see her fellow 
townspeople? . 

8. How does Atticus quiedy 
protest Jim Crow laws even 
before Tom Robinson's trial? 

9. What does Jem learn when 
Atticus forces him to read to 
Mrs. Dubose as a punishment? 
Why does the lawyer regard 
this woman as the "bravest 
person" he ever knew? 

10. Since their mother is dead, 
several women — Calpurnia, 
Miss Maudie, and Aunt 
Alexandra — function as 
mother figures to Scout and 
Jem. Discuss the ways these 
three women influence Scout's 
growing understanding of 
what it means to be a 
Southern "lady." 

I 4 THE BIG READ " National Endowment for the Arts 

1 1. Why does Atticus Finch risk 
his reputation, his friendships, 
and his career to take Tom 
Robinsons case? Do you think 
he risks too much by putting 
his children in harms way? 

12. What elements of this 
novel did you find funny, 
memorable, or inspiring? 

Are there any characters whose 
beliefs or actions impressed or 
surprised you? Did any events 
lead you to revisit childhood 
memories or see them in a 
new light? 

13. Adult readers may focus so 
much on the novel's politics 
that they may neglect the 
coming-of-age story. What 
does Scout learn, and how 
does she change in the course 
of her narrative? 

If you'd like to read works by 
authors admired by Harper 
Lee, you might enjoy: 

Jane Austen's Mansfield Park (1814) 

Truman Capote's The Grass Harp 

Mark Twain's The Adventures of 
Huckleberry Finn (1885) 

If you'd like to read other 
books set in the South, you 
might enjoy: 

Olive Ann Burns' Cold Sassy Tree 

Zora Neale Hurston s Their Eyes 
Were Watching God (1 937) 

Carson McCullers' The Heart Is a 
Lonely Hunter (1940) 

If you'd like to read other 

coming-of-age novels, you 

might enjoy: 

Louisa May Alcott's Oft/e Women 

John Knowles* A Separate Peace 

Any writer worth his saJt 
writes to please himself... It's 
a self-exploratory operation 
that is endless. An exorcism 
of not necessarily his demon, 
but of his divine discontent." 


from a 1964 interview 

National Endowment for the Arts • THE BIG READ | 5 

Additional Resources 

Other works by Harper Lee 

In the 1 960s, Lee published three 
essays in American magazines, 
which can be read at Jane Kansas' 
Web site: www. mockingbird. 
chebucto.org/otherwork.html. Lee 
published her fourth essay in 1985, 
originally presnted as a paper at the 
1983 Alabama History and 
Heritage Festival. 

"Christmas to Me." McCalls 89 
(December 1961): 63. 

"Love — In Other Words." Vogue 
137 (15 April 1961): 64-5. 

"When Children Discover 
America." McCalls 92 (August 
1965): 76-9. 

"Romance and High Adventure." 

Clearings in the Thicket: An 
Alabama Humanities Reader. Ed. 
Jerry Elijah Brown. Macon, GA: 
Mercer University Press, 1985. 

Interviews with Harper Lee 

In the early 1 960s, Lee gave many 
interviews before she chose to 
step out of the public eye. One of 
them was first published in Roy 
Newquists book, Counterpoint, 
another in Rogue magazine. 
Both can be found at 
www. mockingbird, chebucto. org/ 

Books about Harper Lee and 
To Kill a Mockingbird 

Bloom, Harold, ed. Harper Lee's 
To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: 
Chelsea House Publishers, 1 997. 

Johnson, Claudia Durst. To 
Kill a Mockingbird: Threatening 
Boundaries. New York: Twayne, 

Shields, Charles J. Mockingbird: A 
Portrait of Harper Lee. New York: 
Henry Holt, 2006. 

Mary Badham and 
Gregory Peck 

| 6 THE BIG READ • National Endowment for the Arts 

^^C^^ The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting 

^^■^^ excellence in the arts — both new and established — bringing the arts to all Americans, 

^^mS and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an 

national independent agency of the federal government, the Endowment is the nations largest 
endowment annual hinder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner 
cities, and military bases. 


ij£ MuseurriandLibrary The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support 
••": for the nations 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institutes mission is to 

create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. 

The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local 

organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and 

innovation; and support professional development. 



Arts Midwest connects people throughout the Midwest and the world to meaningful 
arts opportunities, sharing creativity, knowledge, and understanding across boundaries. 
One of six non-profit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest's 
history spans more than 25 years. 


fM9JEWJV£P Boeing is the world's leading aerospace company and the largest combined 

manufacturer of commercial jediners and military aircraft. As a leading contractor to 
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customers to provide U.S. Armed Forces and U.S. allies around the world with fully 
integrated high-performing systems solutions and support. 

Additional support for the Big Read has also been provided by the WK. Kellogg 
Foundation in partnership with Community Foundations of America. 

Works Cited 

Excerpts from To Kill a Mockingbird, Copyright © 1960, 1988 by Harper Lee, are reproduced by permission of 
HarperCollins Publishers. 

Chafe, William H., Raymond Gavins, Robert Korstad, eds. Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the 
Segregated South. New York: New Press, 2001. 

Culligan, Glendy. "Listen to that Mockingbird." Rev. of To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. The Washington Post, Times 
Herald 3 July 1960: E6. 

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. 1960. New York: HarperCollins, 2002. 

Newquist, Roy. "An Interview with Harper Lee." March 1964. Online Posting. To Kill a Mockingbird and Harper Lee. 
9 January 2006 <http://mockingbird.chebucto.org/interviews.html>. 

Shields, Charles J. Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 2006. 


David Kipen, NEA Director of Literature 

Writers: Charles J. Shields, author of Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee; David Kipen and Erika Koss for the National 

Endowment for the Arts, with preface by Dana Gioia 
Series Editor: Erika Koss for the National Endowment for the Arts 

Special thanks to Susannah Bielak, Susan Chandler, Maryrose Flanigan, Liz Edgar Hernandez, and Jon Peede 
Graphic Design: Fletcher Design/Washington, D.C. 

Image Credits 

Cover Portrait: John Sherffius for the Big Read. Inside coven Bettmann/Corbis. Page 1: Photo by Vance Jacobs. Page 2: Northern mockingbird 
image by Jeremy Woodhouse/Getty Images; first edition book cover reproduced courtesy of HarperCollins. Page 5: top, image by Donald 
Uhrbrock/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images; bottom, image by Hank Walker/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images. Page 6: Image by Katy 
Winn/Corbis. Page 7: Both photos, Getty Images. Page 8: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Page 9: top, image by Esther 
Bubley/Getty Images; bottom, Bettmann/Corbis. Page 10: top, image by Donald Uhrbrock/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images; bottom, Royalty 
Free/Corbis. Page 11: Image by Donald Uhrbrock/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images. Page 12: top, Universal Studios/Courtesy of Getty Images; 
bottom, Bettmann/Corbis. Page 16: Bettmann/Corbis. 

This publication is published by: 

National Endowment for the Arts • 1 100 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W • Washington, D.C. 20506-0001 

(202) 682-5400 • www.nea.gov 




SB Hal 



The one thing that 
doesn't abide by 
majority rule is a 
person's conscience." 


in To Kill a Mockingbird 



2, Museum, ^Library 


77?f 5/^" 7&W is an initiative of the National Endowment 
for the Ans designed to restore reading to the center of 
American culture. The NEA presents The Big Read in 
partnership with the Institute of Museum and Libraij 
Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. The Big 
Read brings together partners across the country to 
encourage reading for pleasure and enlightenment. 

A great nation deserves great art. 

The Big Read for military communities is made possible by