In "To Kill a Mockingbird" what behaviors are acceptable and unacceptable in the Maycomb community?
In the small, close-knit, prejudiced community of Maycomb, some behaviors are considered acceptable, while other behaviors are frowned upon and viewed as taboo. Acceptable behaviors consist of socializing with neighbors, attending church and community functions, working to earn a living, getting along with citizens, and following the laws. Unacceptable behaviors consist of refusing to socialize with neighbors, supporting and having friendly relationships with black citizens, accepting welfare, and breaking the law.
The blatant prejudice against black citizens is the most disturbing aspect of Maycomb's community and is the driving force behind the plot of the story. Atticus and his family are criticized, ridiculed, and threatened because of his decision to defend a black man in court. Tom Robinson is also wrongly convicted by a racist jury despite a lack of medical evidence, conflicting testimonies, and his obvious handicap. The citizens of Maycomb also view Dolphus Raymond with contempt because he socializes with black people and spread rumors about Boo Radley because he is a recluse. As Scout matures, she gains perspective on her prejudiced community and learns to appreciate her father's sacrifice.
It is unacceptable to be of a different race and expect justice in the community. This is scene in the case of Tom Robinson, who is an innocent man convicted of a crime against a white woman. It is acceptable to let a white woman free from contempt of court because she is ignorant. It is unacceptable to be poor and rude. The poverty is held against the children in the story, as seen with Walter Cunningham. It is acceptable to harass and malign a young man who has been isolated for a long period of time.
It is acceptable to be a racist with little empathy for those who are different as long as you are a church-going white person.