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Free Online Talk: The Country That Fiction Built

Presented by Bainbridge Branch of the Kitsap Regional Library and Arts & Humanities Bainbridge at Zoom, Bainbridge Island WA

Mar 03 2021
Free Online Talk: The Country That Fiction Built
Michelle Liu


Ask who Atticus Finch is, and most will remember him from high school English as the heroic lawyer defending an unjustly charged African-American man in To Kill a Mockingbird. Ever since Harper Lee imagined him into life in 1960, the name “Atticus Finch” has become shorthand for a person who acts according to their conscience, not majority rule.

This talk delves into the many ways our country is deeply shaped by Harper Lee, as well as by the best-selling author who lived in the century before her—Harriet Beecher Stowe. Using To Kill a Mockingbird and Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin—the novel largely credited with moving the United States into the Civil War—Michelle Liu invites participants to think about how these two works of fiction still fundamentally shape, as well as limit, how we think about skin color, morality, and who counts as human. How can fiction help us imagine building more empathy and openness to those with experiences different from our

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