In To Kill a Mockingbird, what is the significance of the locations and events that occurred there?1. Finch's house2. Radley house3. Tree where gifts were found4. School5. Miss Maudie's house6....

In To Kill a Mockingbird, what is the significance of the locations and events that occurred there?

1. Finch's house
2. Radley house
3. Tree where gifts were found
4. School
5. Miss Maudie's house
6. Mrs. Dubose's house
7. Cal's church

Expert Answers
bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Many of the places in Maycomb seem to follow one of the novel's main themes--that appearances are not always what they seem. Such is true with many of the locations mentioned in your list.

THE FINCH'S HOUSE.  A place of safety, nurturing and education for Scout and Jem, Atticus shares his knowledge here with the kids, offering the good advice that only he can. Dill hides here after he has run away from home, Scout is comforted here by Calpurnia after arguments with Jem, and it is here where Atticus reads to Scout each night. It is one of the few places in Maycomb where bad things never seem to occur.

THE RADLEY HOUSE.  A house of supposed evil, it actually houses the biggest hero of the novel: Boo Radley. Just touching the house is scary to the children at first, but they eventually come to realize that the true evil within was not Boo, but the father who subjected him to the cruel punishment of confinement. 

THE RADLEY OAK TREE.  Oak trees often provide shelter and safe harbor for animals, but the Radley oak proves to be a neutral ground for sharing the secrecy and friendship between Boo and the Finch children. When the knothole is sealed, the relationship between Boo and the kids seemingly end. But the tree becomes important once again at the end of the story when Boo protects Jem and Scout below it, leaving Bob Ewell dead beneath it.

THE SCHOOL.  A place where children normally learn about the important things of the world, the school is a bit of a mystery to Scout. Excited about her first day of school, it becomes one of the biggest letdowns of her life, and her teachers--Miss Caroline and Miss Gates--are far from perfect instructors.

MISS MAUDIE'S HOUSE.  A place where Scout enjoys spending evenings on Miss Maudie's porch and where Maudie tends to her garden, this place of happiness and solitude is destroyed by its own hand--probably a chimney fire. Nonetheless, Maudie is happy: She hated it anyway, and she will build a smaller house which will provide more room for her garden.

MRS. DUBOSE'S HOUSE.  Not unlike the Radley house, Jem and Scout hate to walk past it, thanks to the old lady who lives inside. But as Boo is not evil nor responsible for his actions, neither is Mrs. Dubose. It is the morphine that makes her act the way she does and makes the house a place of hostility. Before she dies, she kicks her habit, and Jem even adjusts to reading inside it; after she dies and the house is boarded up, the children no longer fear walking past it.

FIRST PURCHASE CHURCH.  Home of the town's poorest congregation, First Purchase needs a coat of paint, a ceiling and electricity. But the people who worship there are honest and God-fearing, and they welcome visitors, white or black--unlike the other churches in Maycomb. 

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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