Harper Lee, one of America’s most famous novelists, was known for her work, To Kill A Mockingbird, which sold over 40 million copies worldwide. This novel, about racism, is one of two novels she wrote in her entire lifetime, and it is one of those works that give the American literature a little push to continue developing and changing. It left a great impact in American literature for years to come, inspiring its readers, and its ideas becoming well-taught with the English field.
In the 1930’s, a young child, Harper Lee was a wild tomboy. She would not stand under any conformity, and was constantly fighting. Lee first became interested in literature in high school, when an English teacher, Gladys Watson Burkett, introduced her to challenging literature and the difficult tasks of writing. After that, Lee went to the University of Alabama, becoming the editor-in-chief of the Rammer Jammer, a humor magazine on the college campus.
Before publishing her famous novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, Lee worked n several odd jobs. “I never expected any sort of success with Mockingbird. I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of the reviewers but, at the same time, I sort of hoped someone would like it enough to giev me encouragement. Public encouragement. I hoped for a little, as I said, but I got rather a whole lot, and in some ways this was just about as frightening as the quick, merciful death I’d expected,” she stated. Mockingbird received enormous amounts of awards and praise. Her novel won the prestigious Pulitzer prize in 1961, becoming an American classic. It was also picked by the Book-of-the-Month-Club and the Literary Guild, and was also known as the Paperback of the Year award by “Bestsellers”.
Lee also shared an extremely interesting relationship with Truman Capote. As children, both of them loved to read. When Capote was given a typewriter, the two young writers would write stories on it, allowing their creativity and thoughts to pour into their works. The two continued to work as they grew older, helping each other out. When Capote published his first novel, Other Voices, Other Room, Harper Lee quit law school to join him and become a writer. She accompanied Truman Capote to Kansas to interview the townspeople for Capote’s novel The Cold Blood. However, after To Kill a Mockingbird gained popularity, Capote resented Lee for her success. He tried convincing others, saying he put as much work into the novel as Lee did. Harper Lee’s relationship with Truman Capote became even more difficult to manage, however, when Capote began to abuse drugs and alcohol. He passed away in 1984.
Lee died in her sleep at the age of 89 on February 19, 2016. Although she is gone, she will never be forgotten. The impact she had on American literature with the developing but powerful ideas that were contained in her wonderful novel To Kill a Mockingbird.
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