Harper Lee was an American author who is renowned for her novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. She did not seem to have many companions during her childhood except her neighbour and friend Truman Capote. Lee’s mother probably had some psychological ailments and this left a profound impact on her. Truman also faced domestic problems and the two found an outlet in each other to pour out these grievances which later came out through their writings. Lee wanted to become a writer and to chase this dream she dropped out from her course as an exchange student and tried to pursue her literary career. However, she encountered many obstacles in this path, the major challenge being financial instability. To earn a living and also continue her writing, she took up a job at the airlines. This deterred the aspiring writer from focussing on her writing completely, and she struggled to strike a balance between her work and passion for writing. As they say ‘Where there is a will, there is a way’, she was helped by friends in her pursuit when as a Christmas gift, she received a handsome amount which was enough for her to quit her job and focus on writing. She then penned her novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ which became a bestseller and is still sought after by readers.
Childhood and Adolescence
Nelle Harper Lee was born on April 28, 1926, in Monroeville, Alabama, to Amasa Coleman Lee and Frances Cunningham Finch Lee. Her siblings were Alice, Louise, and Edwin, and she was the youngest of four children.
Truman Capote was a friend of Lee’s and a well-known literary figure. Capote and Lee were childhood friends. They became friends while Capote was staying with his maternal relatives in Monroeville, the same town where Lee lived.
She finished her education and enrolled in ‘Huntingdon College,’ which is located in Montgomery, Alabama’s capital city, in 1944.
She was a law student at the ‘University of Alabama’ from 1945 to 1949, and afterwards joined the ‘Oxford University’ on a student exchange program.Harper Lee moved to New York six months before finishing her studies at ‘Oxford University’ after deciding to pursue a career as a writer.She worked as a reservation clerk for ‘Eastern Air Lines’ and ‘British Overseas Airways’ in the 1950s to supplement her income while still writing stories. There she ran across her childhood buddy Truman, as well as acclaimed writer Michael Brown and his wife Joy Williams Brown, whom she befriended.
Lee’s Christmas in 1956 was extra spectacular because the Browns played Santa and gave her the nicest present she could have hoped for. They handed her an envelope containing money, allowing her to leave from her airline job and devote all of her time to writing.She was grateful for the kind gesture and refocused her efforts on her writing career with fresh vigor so as not to disappoint her friends who had placed such faith in her abilities.’To Kill a Mockingbird,’ her first and only work to date, is recognized as a masterpiece, and the author has received numerous honors since its publication.
The main focus of this work was racial oppression, which Lee experienced as a child in Monroeville.When she approached Tay Hohoff, an editor at the ‘J. B. Lippincott & Co.’ publishing business, this book was initially conceived as a collection of stories rather than a novel. Tay assisted her in weaving her stories into a well-knit novel, and after two years of hard effort, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ was completed.She joined her buddy Truman in his research for the novel ‘In Cold Blood,’ which was based on a genuine murder case, in 1959. She worked as a capable assistant to Capote, conducting interviews with residents in the area.
The novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” was published in 1960 under the pseudonym Harper Lee, as the author had lost her initial name Nelle.This fantastic literary work became a best-seller almost immediately after its publication and gained widespread acclaim from both readers and reviewers. The ‘Library Journal,’ a trade newspaper for librarians, ran a survey, and ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ was chosen as the ‘Best Novel of the Century,’ according to the results.
This book is still in print and available in millions of copies, making it readily available to readers.Harper Lee has reportedly announced that her second novel, ‘Go Set a Watchman,’ will be released in July 2015, after a sixty-year absence.
Her Major Projects
In her career, Harper Lee only authored one novel, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ which has gone on to become one of the best literary works ever written. It deals with the topic of racism, and the autobiographical parts add to the realism, which is likely one of the reasons for the novel’s success. While one character may reflect Lee, the other appears to be a representation of her friend Truman. The novel’s setting is loosely based on the writer’s hometown, and while one character may represent Lee, the other appears to be a portrayal of her buddy Truman.
Achievements & Awards
In 1961, Harper Lee’s sole published novel, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in the ‘Fiction’ category.On November 5, 2007, she received the ‘Presidential Medal of Freedom.’ Former US President George W. Bush bestowed the accolade upon her.
Personal History and Legacy
Harper Lee had a lengthy acquaintance with famed novelist Truman Capote, and the two were friends even before they both decided to pursue writing as a career and become prominent literary personalities. She is claimed to have led a secluded existence, and little is known about her as a person as a result. However, it is thought that the character of Scout in her work was modeled after the author herself, and that knowing Scout would give readers a better understanding of Harper Lee.
Harper Lee, who was 89 years old at the time of her death, died peacefully in her sleep on February 19, 2016.
In 1962, her novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ was adapted into a film of the same name, which, like the novel, received critical acclaim and won three ‘Academy Awards.’This picture has also gained a place on a number of important lists, including the ‘National Film Registry’ and the ‘Great American Movies of All Time’ list compiled by the ‘American Film Institute’ to commemorate the film’s tenth anniversary.
Estimated Net Worth
Harper Lee, an American novelist with a net worth of $35 million at the time of her death in February 2016, was an American novelist with a net worth of $35 million. Alabama. Her novel “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1960 and was later adapted into a film starring Gregory Peck, was her most famous work. To Kill a Mockingbird dealt with racism in Lee’s hometown of Alabama, which she witnessed as a child. Despite the fact that it was Lee’s only work for the bulk of her life, it earned her the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution to literature.