Describe the Ewels yard. What part of it bewildered the people of Maycomb?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Ewell residence in Maycomb, Alabama sticks out from the rest in every negative way possible. In Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, it is described in great detail the state of filth and misery that surrounds the insubordinate and dysfunctional Ewell family.

The first information that we get is that the town dump goes straight into they yard...because they use it! For this reason, the Ewell residence is rampant with vermin, sickness, and dinginess.

The cabin's plank walls were supplemented with sheets of corrugated iron, its general shape suggested it's original design: square, with four tiny rooms opening onto a shotgun hall, the cabin rested uneasily upon four irregular lumps of limestone. Its windows were merely open spaces in the walls, which in the summer were covered with greasy strips of cheese cloth to keep out the varmints that feasted on Maycomb's refuse.

Basically their living conditions are illogically disgusting. It taps, however, on the basic state of mind of the Ewells themselves.This, in addition to their yard (which is what is most obviously visible) make for a sore sight in the otherwise calm and collected city of Maycomb.

What passed for a fence was bits of tree limbs, broomsticks and tool shafts, all tipped with rusty hammer heads, shovels, axes and grubbing hoes, held on with pieces of barbed wire.

It is almost as if the Ewells not only live in filth but, with the barb wire, remain trapped inside of it as if it were a prison.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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