Maycomb was a very isolated world. Scout opens the novel with a description of her family history and Maycomb’s. Clearly, history is very important to the citizens of Maycomb.
There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County. (chapter 1)
Maycomb is a town interested only in itself. The people care about the day to day comings and goings of the citizens, who was born where and who is from what family.
The importance of history is also highlighted by the first grade class’s reaction to finding out their teacher was from Winston County in Northern Alabama.
When Alabama seceded from the Union on January 11, 1861, Winston County seceded from Alabama, and every child in Maycomb County knew it.) North Alabama was full of Liquor Interests, Big Mules, steel companies, Republicans, professors, and other persons of no background. (chapter 2)
These towns have long memories. They teach their children the family history, but also community history. In fact, the teacher’s presence in the novel early on helps outsiders like the readers get to understand Maycomb’s ways, but also reinforce the insular nature of the Maycomb community. Dill serves this same purpose, since he is somewhat an outsider as well.