In chapters 1–6, what are some quotes that show the little, if any, interest in the world outside of Maycomb?

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Scout opens chapter one with an account of her ancestor Simon Finch; the tradition had long been that "it was customary for the men in the family to remain on Simon's homestead, Finch's Landing, and make their living from cotton." Traditionally, the homestead had been able to provide the majority...

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Scout opens chapter one with an account of her ancestor Simon Finch; the tradition had long been that "it was customary for the men in the family to remain on Simon's homestead, Finch's Landing, and make their living from cotton." Traditionally, the homestead had been able to provide the majority of life's necessities, and Mobile riverboats brought in the rest. Scout characterizes Aunt Alexandra's husband as "a taciturn man who spent most of his time lying in a hammock by the river wondering if his trot-lines were full."

In chapter four, Scout comments on the education she is receiving and concludes that it is not ambitious in what it offers Maycomb's children: "as I inched sluggishly along the treadmill of the Maycomb County school system, I could not help receiving the impression that I was being cheated out of something." Her teacher, Miss Caroline, does not want Scout to read outside the rudiments she offers in the classroom, though Scout is already a proficient reader.

Generally, the first six chapters stress the insularity of Maycomb. Though Dill has been outside town and seen more of the world, he does not discuss it with Jem and Scout. When he returns for the summer, he falls back into the patterns and routines of their small town, where neighbors are more interested in the minutia of the lives of their neighbors than in life outside Maycomb.

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Maycomb was a very isolated world.  Scout opens the novel with a description of her family history and Maycomb’s.  Clearly, history is very important to the citizens of Maycomb.

There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County. (chapter 1)

Maycomb is a town interested only in itself.  The people care about the day to day comings and goings of the citizens, who was born where and who is from what family.

The importance of history is also highlighted by the first grade class’s reaction to finding out their teacher was from Winston County in Northern Alabama.

When Alabama seceded from the Union on January 11, 1861, Winston County seceded from Alabama, and every child in Maycomb County knew it.) North Alabama was full of Liquor Interests, Big Mules, steel companies, Republicans, professors, and other persons of no background. (chapter 2)

These towns have long memories.  They teach their children the family history, but also community history.  In fact, the teacher’s presence in the novel early on helps outsiders like the readers get to understand Maycomb’s ways, but also reinforce the insular nature of the Maycomb community.  Dill serves this same purpose, since he is somewhat an outsider as well.

 

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