Harper Lee: A Short Biography

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Harper Lee: A Short Biography

Harper Lee: A Short Biography

"I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird." Harper Lee

Biography: Early Life

Nelle Harper Lee was born on April 28, 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama. She was the youngest of the four children and grew up as a tomboy. Her father was a lawyer for the Alabama state Legislature and also worked for the local newspaper. Lee's mother endured a metal ilness, maybe bipolar disorder, and rarely left the house.One of Lee's closest friends was Truman Capote who was the inspiration for Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird. Like Lee, he also enjoyed literature. Truman was picked on for being a sissy and for the fancy clothes he wore so Lee, who was tougher than many boys her age, rose to act like Tumans protector. Although the two were unlikely of friends, they had one thing in common. They were both undergoing difficult lives at home. Truman lived with his mothers relatives after being neglected by his parents.In highschool, Lee developed a liking for literature and went to Huntington college after graduating highschool in 1944. Despite the fact that most girls her age were into fashion, makeup, and dating, Lee couldn't have cared less. She preferred focusing on her studies and on her writing. As a result, Lee bacame the member of the literary honor society and the glee club.

Lee attended three colleges, studied law, and went to Oxford for a short amount of time as an exchange student. By the 1950's, she was working as an airline clerk and writing whenever she had time. On Christmas, Lee recieved a present from her friends ----a years wages without having to work. She argued that they couldn't afford such generosity, but they insisted that with her talent and a year without distractions, something wonderful would come into being. To Kill a Mockingbird was the result, published in 1960.

Biography: Later Life

Lasting Impact

*To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960.* To Kill a Mockingbird sold over 30 000 000 copies, spent 80 weeks on the bestseller list, and translated into over 40 languages.* It won the Pulitzer prize in 1961.*It became a film in 1962 starring Gregory Peck.

Work With Truman Capote

Lee later joined Truman Capote to help him with an article that he was writing for The New Yorker. Truman was writing about the murder of four members of the Clutter family on their small Kansas farming community. Truman and Lee travelled there to interview friends, family, and townspeople. The Clutters suspected killers were Richard Hickock and Perry Smith and were later caught in Las Vegas. They were brought in for questioning by Lee and Capote. After, they went back to New York and Lee worked on her novel while Capote worked on his article which later became a non-fiction piece, In Cold Blood. Harper later gave Capote all he notes on the crimes, victims, killers,community,etc.


*To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960.* To Kill a Mockingbird won the Pulitzer prize in 1961.*It was named the best novel of the century in1999 in a poll by Library Journal. * President Johnson named Harper Lee to the national council on the arts.* President George Bush awarded Harper Lee the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Biography: Current Life

Now, Lee lives with her sister Alice Lee and says that she is having difficulty writing on another novel although she has tried many times. She declines all interviewsand is rarely seen in the public.


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