Let Much Of It Slip Past


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let much of it slip past To Kill a Mockingbird

Early Life
Born in Monroeville, Alabama, on April 28, 1926, Nelle Harper Lee is the youngest of three children of Amassa Coleman Lee and Francis Lee. Before his death, Miss Lee's father and her older sister, Alice, practiced law together in Monroeville. When one considers the theme of honor that runs throughout Miss Lee's novel, it is perhaps significant to note that her family is related to Confederate General Robert E. Lee, a man especially noted for his devotion to that virtue.

Miss Lee received her early education in the Monroeville public schools. Following this, she entered the University of Alabama to study law. She left there to spend a year in England as an exchange student. Returning to the university, she continued her studies, but left in 1950 without having completed the requirements for her law degree. She moved to New York and worked as an airline reservation clerk.

Character
It is said that Miss Lee personally resembles the tomboy she describes in the character of Scout. Her dark straight hair is worn cut in a short style. Her main interests, she says, are "collecting the memoirs of nineteenth century clergymen, golf, crime, and music." She is a Whig in political thought and believes in "Catholic emancipation and the repeal of the corn laws."

Sources Of To Kill A Mockingbird
Among the sources for Miss Lee's novel are the following:
(1) National events: This novel focuses on the role of the Negro in Southern life, a life with which Miss Lee has been intimately associated. Although it does not deal with civil rights as such - for example, the right to vote - it is greatly concerned with the problem of human dignity - dignity based on individual merit, not racial origin. The bigotry of the characters in this novel greatly resembles that of the people in the South today, where the fictional Maycomb County is located.

(2) Specific Persons: Atticus Finch is the principal character in this novel. He bears a close resemblance to Harper Lee's father, whose middle name was Finch. In addition to both being lawyers, they are similar in character and personality - humble, intelligent and hard-working.

(3) Personal Experience: Boo Radley's house has an aura of fantasy, superstition, and curiosity for the Finch children. There was a similar house in Harper Lee's childhood. Furthermore, Miss Lee grew up amid the Negro prejudice and violence in Alabama. In addition, she studied law and visited her father's law offices as a child, just as Scout visits Atticus' office and briefly considers a career as a lawyer.

Writing Career
Harper Lee began to develop an interest in writing at the age of seven. Her law studies proved to be good training for a writing career: they promote logical thinking, and legal cases are an excellent source of story ideas. After she came to New York, she approached a literary agent with a manuscript of two essays and three short stories. Miss Lee followed his suggestion that she expand one of the stories into a novel. This eventually became To Kill A Mockingbird.

After the success of her first novel, Miss Lee returned to Monroeville to begin work on a second one. She learned quickly that privacy was not one of the prizes of a best-selling novelist. "These southern people are southern people," she said, "and if they know you are working at home, they think nothing of walking in for coffee." Miss Lee also has said that her second novel will be about the South, for she is convinced that her section of the country is "the refuge of genuine eccentrics."

Miss Lee thinks of herself as a journeyman writer, and of writing as the most difficult work in the world. Her workday begins at noon and continues until early evening. At the end of this time, she may have completed a page or two. Before rewriting, she always allows some time to elapse, for a fresh viewpoint on what she has done.

Besides her prize-winning novel, Miss Lee has had several essays published. For example, "Christmas to Me" appeared in the December, 1961, issue of McCalls, and "Love - In other Words" appeared in the April 15, 1961, edition of Vogue. These essays display the same easy, sympathetic ... more

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Philosophy of Time and Space

         
Mickey Mantle: What time is it?

Yogi Berra: Do you mean right now?

Though there are many analogies between time and space, there appear to be three commonplace yet deeply perplexing features of time that reveal it to be quite unlike space. These can be called orientation, flow and presence. By orientation I mean that there is a direction to time, a temporal order between events which is not merely a reflection of how they are observed (what McTaggart 1908/1968 labelled the B-series time). Assertions that objects stand in spatial relations, such as to the left of, or above, or to the north of explicitly depend upon the position from which they are asserted or upon arbitrary, conventionally established spatial frameworks. There is nothing intrinsic about them; the objects involved are, so to speak, indifferent to them. Temporal relations are not like that times are not just arranged along, as it were, a line but are successive along that imaginary line. Whether one event is before or after another is not (altogether) dependent upon how, or from where, they are viewed. Nature appears to respect temporal orientation, as enshrined in the laws of thermodynamics, though it remains a deep mystery exactly how the temporally symmetric basic laws of physics ground strongly asymmetric temporal processes (see Sklar 1993).

However, temporal orientation is perhaps not so peculiar as the features I mark by the terms flow and presence (which McTaggart called the A-series time). These refer to the apparent and familiar fact that there is one, constantly advancing, distinctive time, the current time, which we mark by the word now. Facts if they really are facts rather than artefacts such as it is now 1997 are not reportable without reference to this special time. For example, on the face of it at least, we cannot translate it is now 1997 into the philosophically more anodyne: statements of the form “it is now 1997″ are true when uttered in 1997 for such claims neglect to mention the crucial point that now is 1997. Sometimes I need to know what time it is. What I need to know is the conventionally indexed name of the time which is simultaneous with now. It is not enough to find out that, for example, 2:00 PM on such and such a date is simultaneous with this experience unless my notion of this experience already contains covert reference to now. That is, while it is obvious that the word this means something like the thing I am indicating, the tense in am indicating is necessary for the referential task of this to succeed. If this meant the thing I am [tenselessly] indicating then this would be ambiguous since I have indicated many things throughout my life. Otherwise, the fact that these experiences occur (tenselessly) at 2:00 PM on such and such a date would not tell me that now is 2:00 PM on that date. Though there appears to be a roughly similar phenomenon about space insofar as one cannot translate I am here into entirely non-indexical language, there remains a subtle difference between now and here. For while we might passably define here as the place I am now, the corresponding definition of now does not seem quite correct. The time I am here non-circularly defines now only if here (or the phrase am here) does not contain covert reference to the present, but it seems that if it does not contain such reference the definition also fails. For then it is clear that I am (or could be) here at many times throughout my life, and not just now. Thus, now seems to be the more primitive notion, essentially deployed in the definition of spatial indexical.

Flow and presence are closely connected to orientation. Orientation in time is (partly) explained and to some extent made intelligible by saying metaphorically that the now moves, or that time passes, and that the direction of passage is always from earlier to later. While in space we can move left or right, up or down, north or south, at will, we are locked into time and our consciousness of necessity flows with time so that ... more

let much of it slip past

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