Please explain this passage from Chapter 1 of To Kill a Mockingbird:
There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with...But it was a time of vague optimism for some people: Maycomb County had recently been told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself."
1 Answer | Add Yours
This passage is part of the adult Scout's description of Maycomb and the pervading atmosphere of the setting of the Great Depression of the 1930s. Maycomb is a sleepy Southern town whose economy suffers just as that of so many other small towns across the country. Yet, Scout adds, there is a "vague optimism," a somewhat shaky view that things may get better since Franklin D. Roosevelt has taken office in 1932.
Maycomb County had recently been told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself.
The phrase in bold is extracted From Roosevelt's 1932 inaugural speech in which he suggests that America can pull itself out of the Depression. All that stands in the way is panic and irrational fears that can alter a manageable situation unmanageable.
Interestingly, these lines carry some irony as Tom Robinson must eventually fear fear itself during his trial in the latter part of the narrative. For, the Southern town of Maycomb yet fears changes in the social order, and the community's fear generates the injustice done Tom.
We’ve answered 317,661 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question