What do you learn about Atticus and family in the first chapter of To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As the narrator, Scout gives the reader a thorough history lesson about the Finch family in the first chapter. The first Finch in the area was Simon Finch, who built the family homestead at Finch's Landing sometime in the early-to-mid 19th century. Simon was a prosperous planter, but the family fortunes were decimated after the Civil War. Atticus grew up there with his brother, Jack, and sister, Alexandra. Atticus went to law school and later supported Jack through medical school. Meanwhile, Alexandra married Jimmy Hancock,

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

She and Jimmy remained to live at Finch's Landing while Atticus moved to Maycomb. Atticus married a woman much younger than himself, but she died of a heart attack shortly after Scout's birth. The family lived on "the main residential street in town" and employed Calpurnia, a black woman, as their housekeeper. Atticus became one of the most well known men in Maycomb,

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

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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