In the book To Kill a Mockingbird, what is a decription of the jail, Calpurnia's church, the school and Mrs. Dubose's house?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Maycomb jail, Calpurnia's church, the school, and Mrs. Dubose's house are among the more interesting locations in the book. Scout describes the Maycomb jail as "the most venerable and hideous of the county’s buildings.... It was certainly someone’s dream." The jail doesn't fit in with the other buildings in town, as it is a "Gothic joke" with flying buttresses and a red brick front, and it only fits one cell across and two cells up and down. Bars cross its "ecclesiastical windows." Critics of the building compare it to a "Victorian privy," while its supporters say that it is a respectable building. The architect clearly built the jail to be grand, but the building doesn't fit in with the rest of the town. Its grandness is also oddly lost on a small town jail. 

The school in Maycomb is next to the Radleys' backyard. Scout says, "from the Radley chickenyard tall pecan trees shook their fruit into the schoolyard, but the nuts lay untouched by the children." The children won't touch the nuts that fall into the schoolyard because they are afraid of the Radleys. 

Calpurnia's church, the First Purchase African M.E. Church, has that name because it was the first thing freed slaves bought after the Civil War. It is "an ancient paint-peeled frame building" and is the only church in town that has a steeple and bell. Its churchyard is made of clay, as is the cemetery. The graves in the cemetery have tombstones in a state of decay, and some are decorated with brightly colored pieces of glass, burned-out candles, and Coke bottles.

Mrs. Dubose lives near Scout and Jem in a house with steep front steps. Her house is in a state of moldy decay. Scout says of the house:

"An oppressive odor met us when we crossed the threshold, an odor I had met many times in rain-rotted gray houses where there are coal-oil lamps, water dippers, and unbleached domestic sheets."

The house has clearly seen better days, and Mrs. Dubose lives there in a state of decrepitude. She rests in a large brass bed heaped with quilts. Mrs. Dubose is clearly poor and living out her old age in a house that is decaying around her.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

MAYCOMB JAIL.  It "was the most venerable and hideous of the county's buildings." It "was a miniature Gothic joke one cell wide and two cells high, complete with tiny battlements and flying buttresses. It had a "red brick facade" and "ecclesiastical windows," and stood on a hill between the hardware store and the jail.

MAYCOMB SCHOOL.  The school is right around the corner from the Finch house and is visible from Scout's front yard. It has a dirt school yard and an auditorium, but there is little else mentioned about the description of the school.

MRS. DUBOSE'S HOUSE.  Mrs. Dubose lived two doors up from the Finches. The house had a front porch where the old lady liked to sit; her beloved camellias grew in the front yard.

FIRST PURCHASE A.M.E. CHURCH.  The outside had peeling paint with the only steeple and bell in Maycomb. The adjoining church yard was of clay, with a cemetery on one side. Inside, the church was unpainted and the ceiling open. It was lighted by kerosene lamps and "pine benches served as pews."

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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