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Others, however, criticized the novel’s tendency to sermonize.
When Tom Robinson, one of the town’s black residents, is falsely accused of raping Mayella Ewell, a white woman, Atticus agrees to defend him despite threats from the community.
At one point he faces a mob intent on lynching his client but refuses to abandon him. Although Atticus presents a defense that gives a more plausible interpretation of the evidence—that Mayella was attacked by her father, Bob Ewell—Tom is convicted, and he is later killed while trying to escape custody.
According to Capote, Boo “was a real man, and he lived just down the road from us.…Everything [Lee] wrote about it is absolutely true.” in the mid-1950s.
It was published in 1960, just before the peak of the American civil rights movement.
A character compares his death to “the senseless slaughter of songbirds.” The children, meanwhile, play out their own miniaturized drama of prejudice and superstition as they become interested in Arthur (“Boo”) Radley, a reclusive neighbour who is a local legend.
They have their own ideas about him and cannot resist the allure of trespassing on the Radley property.Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.Join Britannica's Publishing Partner Program and our community of experts to gain a global audience for your work! Enormously popular, it was translated into some 40 languages and sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. The novel was praised for its sensitive treatment of a child’s awakening to racism and prejudice in the American South.A film adaptation, starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch and Robert Duvall as Boo Radley, was released in 1962. is one of the best-known and most widely read books in the United States.Since its publication in 1960, the novel has been translated into some 40 languages and has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide.Initial critical responses to the novel were mixed.Many critics praised Lee for her sensitive treatment of a child’s awakening to racism and prejudice.The novel was nonetheless enormously popular with contemporary audiences.flourished in the racially charged environment of the United States in the early 1960s. A year after the publication of the novel, Lee was awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for fiction.On Halloween, when Bob Ewell tries to attack Scout and Jem, Boo intervenes and saves them. The sheriff, however, decides to tell the community that Ewell’s death was an accident.was reportedly inspired in part by his unsuccessful defense of two African American men—a father and a son—accused of murdering a white storekeeper.