To Kill a Mockingbird: Real Women of Alabama

This lesson explores the characterization of females in To Kill a Mockingbird. What female influences would Scout have been exposed to in this coming-of-age story? Students will create a “fakebook” profile of a female character they select from the classic novel. They will then compare textual evidence from the novel with real women from Alabama during the Great Depression.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
TSS.ELA.9-10.RL.KID.1
Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw inferences; cite the strongest, most compelling textual evidence to support conclusions.
TSS.ELA.9-10.RL.KID.3
Analyze how complex characters, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text to impact meaning.
TSS.ELA.9-10.SL.PKI.4
Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically, so that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the...
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.PDW.6
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology's...
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.RBPK.7
Conduct and write short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem by...
 
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
 
Learning objectives: 

The learner will:

  • cite evidence from To Kill a Mockingbird to support character analysis;
  • analyze how complex characters develop over the course of a text and interact with other characters;
  • use research skills to find sources from the Library of Congress’s online collections on the Great Depression and compare them to those described in the novel;
  • use technology, including the Internet, to produce, and publish individual writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically; and
  • make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.
Essential and guiding questions: 

Compare the primary sources from Alabama women during the Great Depression with the characters of To Kill a Mockingbird. How are the women in the novel similar or different than those represented in the primary sources from the Library of Congress?

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Applying
Extension suggestions: 
  • This lesson can be expanded to include any character of To Kill a Mockingbird and not focus exclusively on female characters.
  • Students can further learn about gender roles during the Great Depression in an article, “Women and the Great Depression,” from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
  • Students can learn more about the important American musicologist Alan Lomax, and access a new collection of his manuscripts and field notes, at the Library of Congress. Teachers can also access teacher resources built around his field recordings through the Association for Cultural Equity’s Lomax pages.

Helpful Hints

MATERIALS:

  • PowerPoint
  • Fakebook template (from Classtools.net)
  • Fakebook checklist
  • Access to Internet
  • Library of Congress Web site