To Kill a Mockingbird

Historical Context

Although Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is a work of fiction, the story is based on and set in a historically accurate context. In order to appreciate the novel's setting and recognize its relevance today, you must understand this time period.

A. Use the websites below to answer questions regarding the novel's controversy, the Great Depression, Jim Crow Laws and segregation. We will refer to all of these topics when we discuss To Kill a Mockingbird.

B. Neatly write your answers on your own paper. You do not need to write the questions, but please number your paper and group the questions in the same way they are on this webpage.


1. Where does the novel appear on the Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009?

2. Name two other titles that you were surprised to find on this list.

3. A challenge occurs when someone attempts to remove a book from school curricula and libraries. If the material is removed, it is considered banned. Why has To Kill a

Mockingbird been challenged?

4. Why do others disagree with this challenge?

5. Do you agree or disagree with this challenge? Explain your opinion.

The Great Depression

Go to “The Depression in the United States -- An Overview” for questions 6-9.

6. When did the Great Depression occur?

7. Why did the Great Depression occur?

8. Who was president when the depression started, and who was president during the New Deal?

9. What was the New Deal?

Go to “A Depression Photo Essay” for question 10.

10. Look at some photographs from the Great Depression. Describe one and explain why it has an impact on you.

Jim Crow Laws/Segregation

11. What was the purpose of Jim Crow Laws?

12. Put at least two of these laws into your own words.