Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in English Composition



First Reader/Committee Chair

Pak, Yumi


Given the current climate for social and political change in relation to identity and being, traditional high school texts like To Kill A Mockingbird are being rejected as degrading, out of touch, and even regressive and are being taken off the pedagogical shelf. This article pushes back on this outlook by suggesting that a more critical approach to such texts can make them not only useful but enlightening for the high school population asked to read them. Specifically, by proposing that high school pedagogy apply the foundations and frameworks of critical, identity-focused theories, like queer theory, to traditional high school texts, this article examines the reason for change and the benefits such a change might bring about. Therefore, the question to answer is how can queer theory be woven into standard high school pedagogical practices so that the study of literature is more meaningful to the students? Joining the conversation of queer theory and literary pedagogy by queering the characters of Scout and Dill in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, a pedagogical approach for rereading high school texts in order to help students identify and unpack their own gendered identity is considered and tentatively applied. Through the comparison of performativity and the complex construction of the “I” in the reading of Scout and Dill, we can invite students to view the text as a social artifact with which to further develop their identities and recognize the intersections that make up those identities.