Don't Know Much

Happy Birthday, Harper Lee

Born April 28, 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama –Nelle Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird.

If you only publish one book, may as well make it a good one. For Harper Lee it was To Kill A Mockingbird (1960),  the story of Scout Finch, a girl growing up in a small Southern town.  Scout and her brother Jem wake up to the intolerance and racial hatred around them when their father, Atticus, takes on the legal case of a black man accused of raping a white woman. To Kill a Mockingbird won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961, and in the last few years, it has been far and away the most popular selection for “One Book, One Community” reading programs—for example, every Vermont resident was encouraged to read the novel in 2011. However, it is also among the most “challenged” books, according to the American Library Association. Do you know why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird?  Take this quick quiz on the beloved coming-of-age novel (adapted from Don’t Know Much About Literature, a collection of literary quizzes.)


1.    In what fictional town is To Kill A Mockingbird set?

2.    In which real Alabama town were nine black teenagers falsely accused of raping two white women in 1931?

3.    Which character in To Kill a Mockingbird did Lee base on her childhood friend Truman Capote?

4.    What is the name of Scout’s reclusive neighbor, whom she begins to understand better at the end of the novel?

5.    Who won an Oscar for his role as Atticus Finch in the 1962 film version of the novel?



1.    Maycomb, Alabama.

2.    Scottsboro.  The case of the “Scottsboro Boys” provided real-life inspiration for Lee’s novel.

3.    Dill Harris, Scout Finch’s friend and neighbor.  Lee was the prototype for one of Capote’s characters: Idabel Tompkins in Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948).

4.    Boo Radley.

5.    Gregory Peck.  Another of Peck’s great roles from literature was in the 1956 film Moby Dick; he played Captain Ahab.


And by the way, it is a sin to kill a mockingbird because all they do is “make music for us to enjoy.”

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