Harper Lee's to Kill a Mockingbird: New Essays

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Product Details
Scarecrow Press
Publish Date
5.6 X 8.6 X 0.9 inches | 1.1 pounds
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About the Author
Michael J. Meyer, now retired, was adjunct professor of English at DePaul University and Northeastern Illinois University. He is the author of The John Steinbeck Bibliography: 1996-2006 (Scarecrow, 2008) and The Essential Criticism of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men (Scarecrow, 2009).
Meyer (retired, English, DePaul Univ.) compiled this collection of new essays to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Harper Lee's classic novel. He cast a wide net to provide an entertaining and insightful assortment of readings. The volume is divided into four parts: 'Educational Approaches, ' 'To Kill a Mockingbird and the Justice System, ' 'Themes, Imagery, and Structural Choices, ' and 'Social Concerns.' Some essays are theoretical, while others, such as Christian Z. Goering and Cindy M. Williams's 'A Soundtrack Approach to Teaching To Kill a Mockingbird, ' and Derek Blair and Cecilia Donohue's 'Multimedia Mockingbird: Teaching Harper Lee's Novel Using Technology, ' provide practical and compelling ideas for teachers. Meyer's decision to have a diverse group of contributors is admirable: university professors are mixed in with an Emmy-nominated television news producer, Baptist minister, and corporate attorney. Malcolm Gladwell is the most well-known contributor, and his piece is the only reprint, having first appeared in The New Yorker. Verdict: Meyer's superb assemblage will be of interest and help to high school teachers and undergraduate college instructors. General readers who are fans of the novel will also be intrigued.
-- "Library Journal"
This text serves as a teaching tool and examines more sophisticated issues than earlier anthologies. An abbreviated listing from the table of contents is indicative of the depth and breadth of these essays: Part 1-"Educational Approaches" includes articles on online discussions, multimedia presentations, and using soundtracks to teach the novel. Part 2-"To Kill a Mockingbird and the Justice System" contains a perspective on Southern Liberalism, the novel's influence on the legal profession, and "Bending the Law: the Search for Justice and Moral Purpose." Part 3-"Themes, Imagery and Structural Choices" looks at "paired characters," reading the book 50 years after publication, fear and Halloween imagery, the "Rigid and Time-Honored Code" of racism in sports, and symbolism. Part 4-"Social Concerns" addresses a variety of ways to view disability in the novel. Most of the 15 essays were written by scholars and educators; a few were contributed by communication specialists and an attorney. The articles regarding online discussions and soundtracks bring a completely new and fresh approach to teaching the classic. The essays on bending the law and how we look at "others" are thought-provoking. This excellent collection of viewpoints would be valuable to instructors.
-- "School Library Journal"