"To Kill a Mockingbird": By a detailed discussion of the opening three chapters explain how the author Harper Lee orientates the reader to the novel.

Essay by Mr_Lim September 2006

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The opening of "To Kill a Mockingbird" is somewhat different from other novels. The first three chapters of the book introduce us to their world, the world of Maycomb in the 1930's. Harper Lee goes to great lengths to introduce the characters of the novel, and gives us a picture of the town and its inhabitants. She also explains in great detail the history of the Finch family, and recounts many stories in the process of describing the past events. The opening three chapters of novel effectively bring us into the world of Maycomb, 1930's.

In the first three chapters of the book, Harper Lee explains in great detail the physical aspects of Maycomb county. In the first chapter, she devotes two entire paragraphs to the description of the physical qualities of Maycomb and its inhabitants. Harper Lee strongly emphasises the fact that Maycomb is a slow paced, boring and dull town with little to be enthusiastic about.

She uses words like 'sagged', 'ambled' and 'shuffled' to exemplify the laziness of the people, and the fact that there is little to be enthusiastic about is shown when it states 'There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with' (p.6). She also describes Maycomb as such as small town where all the inhabitants know about each other, and know each other's values and qualities. This can be seen in chapter two, when Scout first goes to school. Ms Caroline, a newcomer to Maycomb county from Winston county, North Alabama, is ignorant of the qualities of the Cunninghams and Ewells. However, Scout and the other children are well aware of their values and beliefs. By doing this, Harper Lee orientates the reader to the setting of Maycomb county, and gives an...