Nelle Harper Lee (April 28, 1926 – February 19, 2016) was an American novelist best known for her 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird. It won the 1961 Pulitzer Prize and has become a classic of modern American literature. Lee only published two books, yet she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007 for her contribution to literature. She also received numerous honorary degrees, though she declined to speak on those occasions. She assisted her close friend Truman Capote in his research for the book In Cold Blood (1966). Capote was the basis for the character Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird.The plot and characters of To Kill a Mockingbird are loosely based on Lee's observations of her family and neighbors, as well as an event that occurred near her hometown in 1936 when she was 10. The novel deals with the irrationality of adult attitudes towards race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s, as depicted through the eyes of two children. It was inspired by racist attitudes in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. She also wrote the novel Go Set a Watchman in the mid-1950s and published it in July 2015 as a sequel to Mockingbird, but it was later confirmed to be merely her first draft of Mockingbird.
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However fashionable despair about the world and about people may be at present, and however powerful despair may become in the future, not everybody, or even most people, thinks and lives fashionably; virtue and honor will not be banished from the world, however many popular moralists and panicky journalists say so. Sacrifice will not cease to be because psychiatrists have popularized the idea that there is often some concealed self-serving element in it; theologians always knew that. Nor do I think love as a high condition of honor will be lost; it is a pattern in the spirit, and people long to make the pattern a reality in their own lives, whatever means they take to do so.