To Kill a Mockingbird is set in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, over a period of a few years during the Great Depression.
Maycomb is a “tired old town” full of interesting characters. There is nowhere to go and no money to buy things with. People amuse themselves by talking to each other, and the main recreation is going to church. Everyone knows everyone else. Even the town is poor.
In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square. (ch 1)
The book opens the summer that Scout is about to start first grade. She is six, and her father is a lawyer. The town is deeply divided on racial lines and has a strong class hierarchy too. This is one of the reasons why the case of Tom Robinson, the black man accused of raping a white woman, is so contentious.