To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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How can I briefly describe the town of Maycomb in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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Christopher Jerde eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Maycomb is a fictional town. It is located in Alabama and based on the author Harper Lee's own childhood town, Monroeville, so there is an autobiographical element to its details.

The town is small and possesses a rather rigid class system. Poverty is rampant, with people either struggling to make do or already living in bad conditions. Some white families are well-to-do, such as the Finch family, who are essentially American aristocracy due to the respect of their names and their long family history.

The town is also racially segregated. Whites and blacks live in different parts of town and go to different churches, only ever seeming to interact when black citizens work as cooks, handymen, and housekeepers for the whites, or in a worst-case scenario, when black citizens are tossed into some controversy, such as with the case of Tom Robison.

In general, the town is reluctant to embrace change. Everyone seems to accept the classicist, racist, and sexist attitudes that have persisted in...

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