What is the author trying to suggest about Maycomb and its people in Ch 1 of To Kill a Mockingbird?

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parkerlee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is an element of isolation about Maycomb and the people who live there. Maycomb is quite a small Southern town, reflecting the values (along with the prejudices) of the Americal South at the time.There is definitely an "us" and "them" attitude; people are either bona fide home folk or 'foreigners' from someplace else. Aunt Alexandra later expresses this idea of exclusion when she defines the "good families" as those who can trace themselves back at least three or four generations.

Maycomb is also the county seat and has therefore escaped the run-down, shambled look of so many small towns at the time. The courthouse is a vestige of former glory, with its classical columns and broad flagstones out front. Maycomb is a quiet, peaceful town and a relatively safe place for children to grow up. For instance, the Finch children can roam the neighbourhood as they please as long as they come home within reasonable hours and show up promptly for dinner.

There is an air of lethargy and heaviness about the place, however, especially during the summertime when everyone is forced to retreat indoors to escape the heat.The stifling, smothering atmosphere expresses something oppressive about Maycomb in a way other than just a definition of climate.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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