Choose one or two settings in "To Kill a Mockingbird". Discuss how they reveal the traits of characters.

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katemschultz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One setting that reveals character is the Ewell house. They live on the outskirts of town, near the Nergo houses and the dump. The fence is made from junk found in the dump; the roof of the house is made from flattened tin cans. There's a lot of junk in the yard--old car parts, broken furniture. The windows have no panes, but strips of cheesecloth (like gauze) hang in the windows. The house is small, run-down and looks as though it could fall down at anytime.

The Ewell family itself could probably fall apart at anytime. Their mother is dad and their father, Bob, is rarely at home, and when he is, he's drunk. They kids are usually dirty and forage in the dump for clothes and make shoes out of tires. They hunt out of seasons and take hand outs in order to get food. Their attitudes are dirty as well, as can be seen from the interaction between Burris and Miss Caroline on the first day of school and Bob Ewell's general poor attitude.

The one thing about the Ewell house that is trying to be beautiful are the pots of red geraniums sitting outside, looking, as Scout says, as if Miss Maudie herself was caring for them. Scout assumes they are Mayella's, and that reflects in Mayella's appearance at the trial. Scout says it looks like Mayella tried to clean up and Tom Robinson said she seemed to try harder than the rest of them. It is obvious that Mayella wants to tell the truth, but can't rise above where her father has set her.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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