To Kill a Mockingbird

By Christopher Sergel, based on the novel by Harper Lee
Directed by Patrick Taylor
SHOW DATES:  September 7,8,14,15,16

The first of our series of plays that were once banned.  (see below) About doing the right thing no matter what the cost.

To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee published in 1960. It was immediately successful, winning the Pulitzer Prize, and has become a classic of modern American literature. The plot and characters are loosely based on Lee’s observations of her family, her neighbors and an event that occurred near her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, in 1936, when she was 10 years old. The story is told by the six-year-old Jean Louise Finch.

To Kill a Mockingbird still finds itself on the banned books list. The racial content, profanity, and references to rape have caused many to challenge the novel and remove it from school libraries and classrooms. Throughout the novel, words such as “damn” and “nigger” are used over and over.  The fact that the young children characters are using this profanity causes many to question the novel because they don’t want their children using that type of language.  

Racism is a constant theme in To Kill a Mockingbird.   The Tom Robinson rape case shows that even though he is innocent, he is convicted because of his race. It’s stated several times throughout the book a black person will always be convicted if it’s a white person accusing them. Colored women are depicted as the “help” because they cook, clean, and take care of children for the white families. Racial slurs such as “nigger lover” are used which many find offensive and promotes racism and inequality of the races.

Cast of To Kill a Mockingbird
 Jean Louise “Scout” Finch——Shiloh Phipps
 Jeremy “Jem” Finch————Silas Yates
Atticus Finch——————–Michael Schumacher
Calpurnia-——————–-Rachael Roebuck-Howard
Charles Harris “Dill”———Christian Huffman
 Tom Robinson—————-Joshua Neal
 Mayella Ewell—————–Olivia Eckler
 Bob Ewell———————–Harry Wayne Shepard
Heck Tate————————Carter Hume
 Judge Taylor/Walter Cunningham——–Ben Cronan
 Mr. Gilmer/Arthur “Boo” Radley——-Kyle Mercuri
Reverend Sykes———————Charles Byrd
 Maude Atkinson—————–Cheryl Dern
 Stephanie Crawford———–Janet Wasson
 Mrs Dubose———————Dee Berdine
Townsperson—Jim Buckner
Court Clerk———Penelope Winter

A Banned HistoryA few example of where, when, and why the novel was challenged include:

  • 1966- Hanover, Virginia, parents argued that the plot containing rape was immoral. The school received many letters complaining about the novel and its use in classrooms but also received letters from those who found the situations ridiculous and funny.
  • 1968- Second most complained about book receiving negative attention from all over.
  • 1977- Eden Valley, Minnesota for the words “damn” and “whore lady”
  • 1980-Vernon Verona Sherill, N.Y School District as a “filthy, trashy novel”
  • 1981-Warren, Ind.Township schools because the book does “psychological damage to the positive integration process” and “represents institutionalized racism under the guise of good literature”
  • 1984- Waukegan, III. School District because the novel uses the word “nigger.”
  • 1996-Banned from the Lindale, Texas advanced placement English reading list because the book “conflicted with the values of the community.”
  • 2003-Normal, ILL Community High Schools sophomore literature class (2003) as being degrading to African Americans.

To this day To Kill a Mockingbird is still not approved by most school districts and is not allowed to be used as part of classroom curriculums. To Kill a Mockingbird has been removed from all recommended reading lists schools provide to students.