To Kill a Mockingbird

Irreality in‭ ‬To Kill a Mockingbird: An Overview of Scholarly Perspectives College

Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) is commonly understood to be a coming of age story that deal with the theme of racial discrimination in the American South during the Great Depression. Close inspection of the novel reveals many ambiguities that contradict this broad reading of the text. In fact, the novel is constructed on contradictory terms from the ground up, with many stereotypes and prejudicial depictions of scenes and characters working in opposition to the traditional reading of the novel. The contradictory ideas in the novel are based in a sense of irreality that hangs over the novel’s setting, plot, and dialogue. This irreality is best understood as a kind of willful naiveté that imposes a child’s view of events on the action and draws a similarly childlike picture of moral and societal realities.

Jennifer Murray examines the ambiguous foundations of the novel in her article "More Than One Way to (Mis)Read a Mockingbird" (2010). In the article, Murray rejects many of the traditional critical readings of the novel as being based in a superficial grasp of the text. In order to explicate the thematic contradictions in the novel, Murray explores the evolution of the novel from its earliest incarnation as...

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