In the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, how might the story have changed if the courthouse and jail were located in other areas in the town?Trying to understand exactly how the setting in general...

In the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, how might the story have changed if the courthouse and jail were located in other areas in the town?

Trying to understand exactly how the setting in general impacted the events of the story.

Expert Answers
amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To be honest, I don't think changing the location of the jail or courthouse to some other area of the town would affect the story in any significant way. The setting in general does impact the story profoundly. The small, rural town, in the south has a lot to do with the culture, mentality, traditions, and especially race-relations. The time period is also part of the setting and is equally significant. Set in the south in the 1930s, where and when segregation was still ubiquitous, not just in schools, the overall setting of the story has everything to do with some of the novels big themes: tradition, justice, race, and progress. Changing the location of the jail, within the confines of the town, really does nothing to change the story. But if you changed the general setting from a rural, southern town in the 1930s to an urban, northern city in the 1990s, then the story would change drastically because so many cultural changes would be readily apparent.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I tend to agree with the previous post. I don't think a change in the setting of these two buildings would have had any great or significant change in To Kill a Mockingbird. Most small towns had centrally located jails and courthouses during the 20th century, so Maycomb's setting is not an unusual one. I suppose one scene that might have changed was when Jem and Scout came to Atticus's rescue from the lynch mob at the jail. Had the jail been in a different location, then the shotgun-toting editor of the Maycomb Tribune, B. B. Underwood, would not have been so close at hand to cover Atticus's back.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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