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What are some signs of the Great Depression from Chapter 8 of To Kill a Mockingbird?...

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ivygirl | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 15, 2011 at 11:26 AM via web

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What are some signs of the Great Depression from Chapter 8 of To Kill a Mockingbird? Explain please!

 

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

Posted September 19, 2011 at 6:09 AM (Answer #1)

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There really aren't as many obvious signs of the Great Depression in Chapter 8 of To Kill a Mockingbird as there are in other chapters. One sign that it is the 1930s is the lack of electrical heat in the Finch home. Because excessively cold weather was a rarity in the Deep South, Southern homes rarely had electric heaters (and because it was still a luxury in homes anywhere). The Finches depended upon the heat from their fireplaces, and Scout claims that "we were cold." Miss Maudie's house was wooden and susceptible to fire; concrete block houses would not become common until after World War II. 

The town's fire engine was old and would not start; when they attached a hose to the nearest fire hydrant, the hose burst. The town probably had little money for upkeep during the Great Depression, and they had neglected the importance of maintaining a properly working firetruck. Miss Maudie's house had a tin roof, normal for many Southern houses of the time. She also planned to rebuild with extra bedrooms so she could take in boarders, a sure sign that money was scarce. African-Americans are referred to as "nigger" and "colored man," outdated epithets now but common in the 1930s.

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