What do we learn about the ancestry and "tradition," conformity, racial intolerance, and the narrow view the people of Maycomb in the first chapter of To Kill a Mockingbird?I've been stuck on this...

What do we learn about the ancestry and "tradition," conformity, racial intolerance, and the narrow view the people of Maycomb in the first chapter of To Kill a Mockingbird?

I've been stuck on this question for a while and just can't wrap my head around it.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The reader is given a pretty in-depth history of the Finch family and the early origins of the founding of the area. Simon Finch, the first known Finch, had left England due to religious persecution and eventually made his way from Philadelphia to Jamaica and eventually "up the Saint Stephens" River. Simon built his homestead, Finch's Landing, and established a thriving plantation

...on the banks of the Alabama River some forty miles above Saint Stephens.

The plantation was self-sustaining, and needed supplies came up the Alabama River from Mobile, and Simon lived to a ripe old age and "died rich." Atticus and his brother, Jack, became professionals, while Alexandra

... married a taciturn man who spent most of his time lying in a hammock by the river...

Atticus, meanwhile, returned to Maycomb County after graduating from the University of Alabama, and

... was related by blood or marriage to nearly every family in the town.

Maycomb "was a tired old town," and things--and change--moved slowly. During the early years of the Great Depression,

... there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries.

There is little mention of racial intolerance, but Negroes are painted as superstitious--

... a Negro would not pass the Radley Place at night...

and segregation is even maintained in the local jail. When Boo Radley is first arrested,

The sheriff hadn't the heart to put him in jail alongside Negroes, so Boo was locked in the courthouse basement.

Boo is just one of the area's outsiders. The Cunninghams, "an enormous and confusing tribe," lived in Old Sarum in northern Maycomb County. The "narrow view" of Maycomb's inhabitants is best seen in their attitudes toward Boo, who is blamed for "any small stealthy crimes committed in Maycomb..." The Radleys are outcasts within the community, in part because of Boo, but also because the family

... kept to themselves, a predilection unforgivable in Maycomb.

Sources:

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