In To Kill a Mockingbird, what are the different types of social attitudes in Maycomb?Apart from racism, are there any other social attitudes in Maycomb? In detail please, thanks :)

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

According to Jem, there are

"... four kinds of folks in the world. There's the ordinary kind like us and the neighbors, there's the kind like the Cunninghams out in the woods, the kind like the Ewells down at the dump, and the Negroes."  (Chapter 23)

Jem isn't really far off on this assessment of his little world of Maycomb, since the social status of the four groups he names are well-defined in the text. However, Scout is not quite as cynical.

"Naw, Jem, I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks."  (Chapter 23)

Alexandra believes the Finch family ranks at the top of the Maycomb social scale because of their "gentle breeding." She has opinions about every family in Maycomb.

She never let a chance escape her to point out the shortcomings of other tribal groups to the greater glory of our own.  (Chapter 13)

According to Alexandra, everyone in Maycomb

... had a Streak: A Drinking Streak, a Gambling Streak, a Mean Streak, a Funny Streak.  (Chapter 13)

Atticus, of course, treats everyone in town the same. Mr. Avery is suspicious of children. The drug-addled Mrs. Dubose is angry at everyone. Miss Caroline, fresh out of college, believes she is the leading educational authority in the town. Most of the women in the story are highly opinionated and love to gossip.

Scout outlines the "caste system" of Maycomb (in Chapter 13) by explaining that the older generation of the town was marked by their consistent predictability, whose attitudes and behaviors were then passed down to the next generation.

The novel is filled with minor, eccentric characters, most of whom are social outcasts in some way or another.

  • Tutti and Frutti Barber were maiden sisters--both deaf, both Republicans--who lived in the only house in Maycomb with a cellar.
  • A wagonload of Mennonites pass by on the day of the trial. They live deep in the woods and trade on the other side of the river. The men's beards are a source of amusement for Jem.
  • And then there's Boo Radley, whose reclusive ways mark him as the greatest outcast of them all.
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To Kill a Mockingbird

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