Context – setting the scene for the book.
The book is set in a small town in the USA called Maycomb, in the state of Alabama during the 1930’s. There can be comparisons drawn between the fictional setting of the book and the type of town where the author, Harper Lee, herself grew up.
The central theme of the book is interlinked with the history of race relations in the South of the USA throughout the 20th century. During the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries many black people were taken from Africa against their will and transported to the Caribbean and southern states of the USA to work on sugar and cotton plantations. More often than not the slaves met with brutal treatment at the hands of their masters and were denied basic human rights. The subject of slavery instigated the American Civil War where the more progressive and urbane northern states condemned the barbaric practice of slavery, whereas many in the South argued the slaves were fortunate to have come into contact with Christianity.
Even after the civil war, following the victory of the anti-slavery Yankee North and the emancipation of all slaves in the USA, black people were still treated as second class citizens, had no right to vote and were denied education and employment opportunities….
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