After finding my first article [read about how i did it here], I am confident that I will be able to find more information about the white Southern reaction to To Kill a Mockingbird through LRC. LRC, or Literature Resource Center, is a database that I have never used before. It focuses mostly on the most-studied authors with biographies, bibliographies, critical analyses, and other online resources.
To make sure I'm doing the search right, I'm using the Advanced Search mechanism [second tab over on the top] to search for "To Kill a Mockingbird" AND Harper Lee AND South*. Few results have come up, but at least there are more than five to look through. Under the "Literary Criticism" tab, the fifth result down is this article:
Erisman, Fred. "The Romantic Regionalism of Harper Lee." The Alabama Review 26 (1973): 122-36. Web. 27 May 2011.
[i used RefWorks to create the citation. i highly recommend it!]
Erisman claims that the Maycomb of TKM is in many ways a microcosm of the South, reminding readers that many Southerners have a way of holding onto the past. Erisman focuses specifically on the social structure ("keeping blacks in their place"), the "power of the sexual taboo" (focusing on the way empirical evidence is overridden by the caste system), and the white class distinctions (and the subtleties of those distinctions). This is what Erisman calls the romantic regionalism, and states that Harper Lee used these specific levels to show that the South has the potential to transform into a region of functional romanticism. The main content of the argument is how the everyday man, represented by Atticus, can make this change in spite of harassment and mistreatment. Erisman concludes by stating that the South can no longer stand alone. Reaching out and realizing it's place will be difficult, and there will be change, but at this point it is necessary.
This article is an older one, but for my topic I believe it will be helpful. The article was written 9 years after TKM was published, and comments on the Southern social system at the time. The perspective of a critic not too long after the book was published, and the way that he thinks, is telling of the focus of critics in that time period.