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What does Finch's Landing symbolize in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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steger | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 29, 2012 at 6:21 AM via web

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What does Finch's Landing symbolize in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 31, 2012 at 12:48 AM (Answer #1)

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The homestead at Finch's Landing serves to represent the old ways of Maycomb County. Atticus's ancestor, Simon Finch, was the first settler in the area, and it was a former plantation whose land was worked by slaves. The house still shows signs of its slave days: The kitchen is separated from the rest of the house; there are still "traces of an old cotton landing"; and a "rusty bell" which "used to summon field hands" is still visible. Atticus becomes the first male in the Finch line to leave the landing, and he is followed by his brother, Jack. Their departure for a more progressive education and occupation--Atticus as an attorney and Jack as a doctor--symbolizes their more modern views of life. While Maycomb is a sleepy little town that changes slowly, Finch's Landing shows no change whatsoever. Aunt Alexandra decides to stay at the homestead, and she retains her backward views of heritage and race relations. She maintains her black chauffeur to drive her while husband Jimmy spends most of his time fishing and sleeping in a hammock. The family keeps its old tradition of congregating at Christmas, though Scout hates her annual visit. Not unlike Alexandra, who Scout compares to Mount Everest--"cold and there"--Finch's Landing is a lifeless place that has been reduced to just a memory of the lively days before the Civil War.

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