Interestingly, Harper Lee decided to set the novel in the Depression era of the 1930s. The main character, Scout, is based on Lee’s own childhood, and Dill is most likely based on her childhood friend and neighbor, Truman Capote. By placing her novel in the 1930s, Lee provided her readers with a historical background for current events of the time, and in doing so she exposed the deeply rooted history of the civil rights struggle in the South.
In addition to a biting analysis of race relations, To Kill a Mockingbird is also a story about Scout’s maturation.
Coming-of-age stories are also known as members of the genreBildungsroman, which tends to depict main characters who take large steps in personal growth due to life lessons or specific trauma.
In Lee’s novel, Scout Finch works to come to terms with the facts of her society, including social inequality, racial inequality, and the expectation that she act as a “proper Southern lady.
” Scout is a tomboy who resents efforts to alter her behavior in order to make her more socially accepted. In the 1930s, gender inequality also reigned, and women were not given equal rights.