Describe Scout’s family background and her present household in To Kill a Mockingbird.  

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scout's ancestry can be traced back to Simon Finch, who practiced medicine and immigrated to America from Cornwall, England. Simon Finch ended up buying three slaves and established a homestead known as Finch’s Landing on the banks of the Alabama River. Simon's homestead was self-sufficient and flourished until the Civil War, which left his descendants nothing except the land he possessed.

Scout's father studied law in Montgomery while his younger brother John studied medicine in Boston. Atticus's sister, Aunt Alexandra, remained on Finch's Landing and married James Hancock. They had a son named Henry and a spoiled grandson named Francis. Atticus ended up moving back to Maycomb after graduating and began practicing law in the small town. Scout mentions that her father helped pay for John's medical schooling and is well known in the town of Maycomb.

Overall, Scout comes from a rather prestigious family in the Maycomb community, and her relatives are both educated and successful. Aunt Alexandra takes great pride in her heredity and continually encourages Atticus to teach Jem and Scout about their proud family history. Scout also briefly mentions several relatives like Cousin Ike Finch, Cousin Lily Brooke, and Cousin Joshua. Cousin Ike Finch is Maycomb County’s sole surviving Confederate veteran and always tells Atticus stories about the Civil War. Cousin Lily Brooke is portrayed as a polite Southern belle, who socializes with Aunt Alexandra. Scout mentions that Atticus told them that Cousin Joshua was a sewer inspector, who was arrested for attempting to shoot the president and ended up writing a book on his meditations.

price7781 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Finches represent an old, southern family who has lived in the area of Maycomb for generations.  Because of their ancestry, they are well respected in town. Simon Finch first came to the area around Maycomb searching for his fortune by trapping animals and fur trading. He later bought land around what is now called Finch Landing and built a plantation on the site. Aunt Alexandra still lives on the plantation with her husband and son, Francis.  Atticus’ brother, Jack, left the area to become a doctor, and of course, Atticus lives in their modest home in Maycomb with Jem and Scout.  The family, however, spends holidays on the old family plot of land at Finch Landing. 

Because Scout and Jem’s mother died when Scout was little, Atticus hired Calpurnia to do household chores and look after the children while he is busy in his office as a lawyer or at the state capitol as a representative.  Although Calpurnia is strict and has “epic” battles with Scout, Atticus considers her one of the family. 

Throughout the novel, we see Atticus’ valiant efforts to raise his children as a single father who doesn’t always know what he is doing but is, however, a wonderful role model to his children.

troutmiller eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scout's ancestor Simon Finch came to America from England.  He did well practicing medicine, and began "Finch's Landing."  That is where all of the Finch men resided throughout the generations.  However, because Jack and Atticus were into their professions, Alexandra remained on Finch's Landing.

Scout was born 4 years after Jem, and when she was 2, her mother died.  Since then she was raised by Atticus and Calpurnia, who was the cook for the Finches.  Calpurnia serves as a mother figure while Atticus is the provider for the family and the head of the household.  At night Calpurnia returns to her home.  During the day (before Scout began school) she practiced reading with her father and writing with Calpurnia.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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