We finished up the argumentative essays this week and began looking ahead to the time period/background of the novel. We started with a brief powerpoint of Harper Lee and the Great Depression/Civil Rights Movement. I asked each of my classes to raise a hand if they had been given at least 100 bucks for Christmas. I saw so many hands in every single class, and then I connected it to the Great Depression and told each of you that what you, as a teenager, received more for Christmas than what some families in rural Alabama lived off of for an entire year during the Great Depression. I know for most of you, it is very difficult to wrap your mind around a lifestyle of such poverty, but doing so will help you understand the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, a little better. In this era, everyone was poor.
Yet, I hope I also convey to you through this novel and through a mere change of perspective that poverty is not always a reference to financial instability. There is also a poverty of the soul and spirit that goes much deeper and in many ways is much harder to cure. Sure, the Finches and other families in Maycomb suffered financially, but many of them were the richest people who ever lived in terms of their appreciation for humanity and their quest for the truth regardless of the shackles of racism that permeated the time period.
To say I am excited for you all to read my favorite novel is a gross understatement, but I am fully aware that many of you will not like it to the same degree that I do. After all, it is virtually impossible to love the book as much as I do. However, I hope you are still
able to connect with the story, embrace the characters, and change your mindsets after your exposure to this classic.