How is isolation presented in To Kill a Mockingbird? (Any quotes or specific characters would be helpful)

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bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Isolation is presented in the segregated African American community known as the Quarters, located outside the main white residential area where Scout lives. The Ewells live a life of semi-isolation, living adjacent to the dump in between the white and black areas of Maycomb. The "confusing tribe" of Cunninghams live in the far northern part of the county, and their decadent ways often receive warnings from church pulpits.

Boo Radley is the single most isolated character in the novel, choosing to live inside the family home instead of facing the scornful stares that await him in the outside world. Dolphus Raymond, a wealthy white man who has a black mistress and prefers to socialize with Maycomb's Negroes, is considered mentally unstable by the white population. Raymond consequently avoids contact with white people, living outside of town on the river. The town of Maycomb itself has suffered from isolation since its origins, built "awkwardly inland" away from riverboat traffic,

... an island in a patchwork sea of cottonfields and timberlands.  (Chapter 13)

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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As previously mentioned, the town of Maycomb is isolated and impeded in its growth due to its being "awkwardly inland." As a result of this geographical positioning, the town is culturally "isolated," as it is removed from the progression of new citizens who might come from other areas and introduce new ideas and ways, not to mention new "blood."

Maycomb . . . grew inward. New people so rarely settled there, the same families married the same families until the members of the community looked faintly alike.

Certainly, Finch's Landing is an isolated area. This is where Aunt Alexandra claims that there are several generations of "gentle breeding."

For the most part, Mrs. Dubose, too, is isolated from the rest of the community, as she lives alone and is confined to her home because she is gravely ill. Her only contact with her neighbors occurs if they pass by her house while she is on the porch, sitting in her wheelchair. For instance, she calls out to Jem and Scout when they pass by and are "given a melancholy prediction on what [they] would amount to when [they] grew up."

Mr. Dolphus Raymond also lives an isolated existence. As a white man from a “good” family who has chosen to live with a black woman with whom he has fathered children, Mr. Raymond is separated from “respectable” society because of what the white citizens of Maycomb view as his unconventional lifestyle. He is also isolated because Maycomb's citizens perceive him as a dissolute man who rides around with a bottle of liquor concealed in a paper bag. Ironically, Mr. Raymond pretends to drink alcohol only to provide these citizens with justification for isolating him; he really has a bottle of Coca-Cola inside the paper bag.

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