Author Harper Lee has Died at the age of 89. Harper Lee, the acclaimed and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of To Kill a Mockingbird, was pronounced dead earlier today (February 19, 2016) in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. Published in 1960, Lee’s book about racial inequality in the Jim Crow South was adapted into an Oscar-winning film starring Gregory Peck, Robert Duvall, John Megna, Frank Overton, Mary Badham, and Phillip Alford.
The film won three Academy Awards and three Golden Globe awards. Gregory Peck won Best Actor at both awards ceremonies.
The plot synopsis of To Kill a Mocking Bird and its influences:
Atticus Finch is a lawyer in the fictional town of Maycomb, a racially divided Alabama town, set in the early 1930s, and modeled after Monroeville where Harper Lee grew up. Finch agrees to defend a young black man who is accused of raping a white woman. Many of the townspeople try to get Atticus to pull out of the trial, but he decides to go ahead.
Lee’s father was also a small town lawyer when she was very young. The book is loosely based on her observations in 1936 of her neighbors and her home town (Monroeville) when she was 10. Lee later went on to attend the University of Alabama where she studied law before focusing almost entirely on completely To Kill a Mockingbird.
To Kill a Mockingbird was followed by an earlier draft of the same book entitled Go Set a Watchman.
A brief examination of the title of that book (Go Set a Watchman) and its plotline:
[The title] alludes to Jean Louise Finch’s view of her father, Atticus Finch, as the moral compass (“watchman”) of Maycomb, and has a theme of disillusionment, as she discovers the extent of the bigotry in her home community…tackles the racial tensions brewing in the South in the 1950s and delves into the complex relationship between father and daughter.” It includes versions of many of the characters who appear in To Kill a Mockingbird.
Harper Lee eventually began avoiding the spotlight regarding To Kill a Mockingbird, its success, and international fame that it brought her. When Go Set a Watchman was discovered, Ms. Lee continued her avoidance of the spotlight instead letting the work speak for itself.