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What is Maycomb's social hierarchy?

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dperera | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 4, 2012 at 11:43 PM via web

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What is Maycomb's social hierarchy?

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slcollins | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted November 5, 2012 at 3:23 AM (Answer #1)

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Maycomb’s social hierarchy is very distinct and easy to determine. At the top of the social ladder are the educated, land-owning whites, like Atticus Finch. In a small town in the Deep South, owning land gives a person or family prestige and respect. The next step down on the social ladder would be the hard-working whites, the farmers, like Walter Cunningham.  Here it is obvious that hard work is what is rewarded, not the amount of money one had. Walter Cunningham has very little money but works hard to maintain his dignity and will not take charity from anyone. The next step down the social ladder is the non-working whites like the Ewells. The last and lowest rung of the social ladder is where all the African-Americans in Maycomb were. No matter the education, wealth, or land-owning status, this was their place in society. It is this discrepancy and disgrace that Harper Lee highlights in the novel. She questions a society where someone like Bob Ewell could rank higher in society than Calpurnia or Tom Robinson.  

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