In "To Kill a Mockingbird", Scout says the courthouse was rebuilt to "preserve every physical scrap of the past."What does this suggest about attitudes of the people of Maycomb?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This statement of Scout's from "To Kill a Mockingbird" suggests that the majority of the townspeople wish to maintain their status quo. In other words, what has always been thought will be thought; what has always been done will still be done--regardless.  Blind tradition must be preserved.

That Scout mentions the courthouse having been rebuilt in this manner foreshadows what transpires within the walls of this building.  The traditional prejudices are preserved as well, and it is virtually impossible for Tom Robinson to have a fair trial.  When Atticus Finch establishes the lack of credibility in the testimony of the Ewells, the jury fails to attend to this fact in their decision and Tom is found guilt nevertheless. 

Worried about defending Tom Robinson because of the probable outcome, Atticus in Chapter 9 tells his brother,

You know what's going to happen as well as I do, Jack, and I hope and pray I can get Jem and Scout through it without bitterness, and most of all, without catching Maycomb's usual disease.  Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don't pretend to understand...

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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