Compare and contrast the community of Maycomb, Alabama featured in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird with similar communities in America today. 

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lhc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Maycomb was "a tired old town when I first knew it", Scout Finch, the narrator of To Kill a Mockingbird observes as she introduces the setting of the story she is about to tell.  Harper Lee's depiction of life in the Old South during the Great Depression is said by some to rival William Faulkner in capturing the flavor and character of that region.  In Maycomb then, and small towns all across America, everyone knows everyone else and their business; there is often a rural majority with few white collar professionals; there is often a social structure based on family history, or at least perceptions of family history.  In Maycomb, Aunt Alexandra is dedicated to furthering the notion that the Finches come from a "good family" even though Atticus occasionally vexes her with his mention of less than illustrious antics of some ancestors.  Scout mentions that there are Maycomb families you don't take a check from before making "a discreet call to the bank" , that the reason Miss Maudie stoops slightly is because she is a Buford, and they all do that.  Bob Ewell and his family are the scourge of Maycomb, living outside of town near the trash dump where they are largely forgotten except when a Christmas basket is delivered. 

Webb City, Missouri is a town much like Maycomb in many ways.  It is definitely a "tired old town" with few retail businesses, a handful of white collar professionals, dominated by lower middle class and very poor people and a suspicion of outsiders.  There is a fair amount of racism among the population, although it is probably not as malicious as what Lee depicted in To Kill a Mockingbird.  For an even closer comparison, one need only leave the interstate and drive through Alabama and Mississippi towns to see a physical landscape much like what Lee depicted:  a central town square, a few businesses, houses nearby and on the perimeter of the square, and a largely rural population of families that have been there for generations.

etotheeyepi | Student

I can’t answer this question, but I can think of sources of information.

My grandfather recommends the following fictional towns: Mayfield RFD in the Andy Griffith Show, the Okefenokee Swamp in the cartoon Pogo, and Dogpatch in the cartoon Li’l Abner.

My mother watches a television show, Hart of Dixie, which is set in the fictional town, Bluebell, Alabama. When she was a teenager she watched Designing Women, which is set in Atlanta, a city, which must be too large to be a clone for Maycomb; but one of the characters is from Poplar Bluff, Missouri, a city, which, according to my older relatives, could be a clone for Maycomb.

I read about a man, Elvis Johnson, who settled a claim with the Internal Revenue Service for $10,000,000.  He went to school in either Centerville or Patterson, Missouri.   I bet you could read about Centerville in the Reynolds County Courier, and you could read about Patterson in the Wayne County Journal Banner. I bet they might be clones for Maycomb.

I bet that both Centerville and Patterson would qualify for this question.

gaonkim2002 | Student

I think you oughta compare maycomb with tOKYO.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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