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How does Harper Lee prepare us in chapter 1 for what is to come in terms of plot, character, theme and style?

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Introduction

How does Harper Lee prepare us in chapter 1 for what is to come in terms of plot, character, theme and style? Throughout ??To Kill a Mockingbird?? Harper Lee has achieved a strong sense of right and wrong through her narrative of a few years in a poor town, Maycomb, from the perspective of a young girl called Jean Louise Finch. Throughout the novel the themes growing up, education, stereotyping and most prominently racism and prejudice are central as Harper Lee writes about a time in America, the 1930?s, when black segregation was still a huge problem. These themes are all raised from the very first chapter, where we are introduced to many characters, such as the imaginative Dill and the mysterious Boo Radley, both who play a key part in the events of the stories to come. At this very early stage of the novel Harper Lee also begins to set the scene of Maycomb town which is an old and struggling from the Depression allowing the reader to understand the attitudes that some of the citizens have and the idea that it?s a community where there are no secrets. The very first sentence is very important to the structure of the novel. ...read more.

Middle

Harper Lee has cleverly included Dill?s presence as he is the reason that Jem and Scout start to really become interested in Boo, the ?insane? person living across the street who has been locked away for years. Without Dill we are given the impression that they would go on life wondering about Boo but leave him be like the rest of their neighbours. However Dill causes them to also be captivated by the Radley house. Harper Lee has also used to Dill to provoke the reader into having a naive childlike attitude towards Boo like the children. This enables her to depict Boo as a phantom who never comes out so that we do not trust him when really we learn later on that he is actually a lonely and shy man. Therefore Harper Lee makes us feel regret for judging boo on Maycomb gossip and provides an important lesson. Furthermore the mysterious character of Boo Radley is absolutely key to ??To Kill a Mockingbird??. The description that Jem gives of Boo to Dill reveals the town?s attitude towards him and how his appearance has been comprised from many rumours from over the years. We learn throughout the novel that he is a powerful symbol of goodness from incidents such as him saving the children?s lives when they are attacked by Mr Ewell and before he has just been misunderstood and kept in a shroud of eeriness due to Maycomb rumours. ...read more.

Conclusion

These words are far too sophisticated for a six year old. From this use of language Harper Lee also is able to show that Atticus influences his children, as he is a lawyer. To conclude Harper Lee has filled the first chapter with information about the place where Scout-the heroine- lives which sets the scene for the rest of the novel. The description of Maycomb being a slow town enables the reader to understand the attitudes of the citizens later on, for example in the courthouse. As well as setting the scene the first chapter also provides clues for the rest of the novel. Learning about Jem breaking his arm in the first paragraph is particularly important because when you have finished reading the novel it is all tied together. Harper Lee has achieved this through her writing style: writing in a cyclic nature. It also introduces us to many characters, the main ones being, Jem, Dill, Boo Radley and Atticus which provides a hint as to what is to come. The arrival of Dill is key to drama that surrounds Boo Radley as he is fascinated by the Radley House which rubs off on Jem and Scout. Dill will also influence Jem in later parts of the novel a fair bit because Jem feels like he has to prove himself on several occasions keeping the connection between Boo and the three of them alive. ...read more.

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