Harper Lee Essay, Research Paper
Harper Lee was born on April 28, 1926. She was the youngest
of 3 children born to Amasa and Francis Finch Lee. She was born in
Monroeville, Alabama. She attended local schools until 1944, at
which time, she entered Huntington College in Montgomery, Alabama.
She became a Fulbright Scholar and spent a year at Oxford University.
She also attended University of Alabama for four years studying law.
In 1950, she quit the school and moved to New York City where she
worked for Eastern Airlines and British Overseas Air Corporation.
She began writing at a young age, but she was never successful
at getting any of her literary works published, until her successful
novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. She came into contact with a literary
agent, whom she showed some of her manuscripts. One of these
manuscripts was a short story, which her agent encouraged her to
expand on. She then quit her job with the airlines to turn all of her
energy to her writing. This short story expanded into perhaps one of
the most popular novels, and screenplays, in the world. The surprise
is, she submitted the work for publication in 1957, and it was rejected.
She spent the next 2 years in the rewriting and revising the book,
which was eventually published in July, 1960.
Later that year, the book that was originally rejected for
publication, it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished fiction
by an American author. This marked the first time in nearly twenty
years that a female author recieved the award. The book also recieved
the Paperback of the Year Award and the National Conference of
Christians and Jews Brotherhood award. The screenplay adaptation of
the book recieved an Oscar.
Lee based the book on some of the experiences of her life. She
based the character Scout on herself. The time of the book would
have been during the time when Lee would have been the same age as
Scout. Maycomb, Alabama, was modeled after her hometown,
Monroeville. The Radly Place was modeled after an old abandoned
house which the children believed to be haunted and used for a
clubhouse. Other characters in the novel are based on people and
stereotypes which she saw during her youth. The book was written in
the dialect of a small southern town, like Monroeville, which was what
she was accustomed to throughout her childhood