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The small town of Maycomb gave the Finch children full reign to explore their surroundings as city children could not have done. They came and went as they pleased, roaming the neighbourhood in relative safety despite the goosebumps they got when passing the Radley house. Maycomb was a safe place to bring up children, that is until the Robinson trial shook the status quo of a tranquil Southern town.
Having lost their mother, Jem and Scout were also "spoiled" by neighbours, who often visited the Finch household or invited the children in for tea and cake. The fact that their father was a lawyer and that the Finch family had been around for a few generation gave the children a certain sense of pride, prestige and 'belongingness,' compensating at least in part for the absence of their mother.
Calpurnia's presence in the Finch household was more than just a domestic one. She assured at least in part the children's upbringing and was a bridge between the white and the black community, especially during the Robinson trial. Jem and Scout got to see aspects of the Negro community which they would have otherwise missed, and this turns out to be an integral part of their life experience and education.
The difficult years of the Great Depression also unified members of the Maycomb community. The differences between the rich and the poor were not so well marked and people let certain social barriers fall. The Finchs' contact with the Cunninghams exemplifies this.
In "To Kill a Mockingbird," Scout, the narrator, tells the reader
We lived on the main residential street in town...Jem and I found our father satisfactory: he played with us, read to us, and treated us with courteous detachment.
She continues that she, Jem, and Dill spent the summer "in routine contentment." They worked on their tree house, played various roles from dramas, and sought to entice Boo Radley to come outside. The mystery attached to the Radley family and house is exciting to the children.
Scout's father, Atticus, also allows Scout to be a tomboy, wearing overalls and being somewhat lenient about her unladylike behavior. She and Jem have a very open relationship with their father, whom they call by his first name, a most uncommon things as Southerner boys and girls of that time period were supposed to address their parents as "sir" and "ma'am." When Atticus reads to them, they are allowed to stop him and ask questions, too. Atticus discusses with Scout her desire to not return to school, rather than scolding her as many parents would.
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