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Like the town itself, the people of Maycomb are slow to accept change. It is an old town, isolated by its distance from the main river traffic of the era, and most of the townspeople are descendants from the first families. Maycomb has not yet accepted the modern ways of the 20th century. The town has not invested in paved roads or sidewalks, thus the appearance of red "slop" after a rain and the grass growing on the presumably dirt sidewalks. The courthouse sags because of its age and because it was only partially repaired after an earlier fire. The town is not prepared for emergencies like a fire, and when the town's only firetruck is brought to the scene of Miss Maudie's house fire, it does not function properly. In Maycomb, during the depths of the Great Depression, there is a fear of the unknown and of things outside the area.
There was no hurry... nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County. (Chapter1)
But the people of Maycomb had been offered a new hope from a new president, and
... it was a time of vague optimism for some of the people [who] had recently been told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself. (Chapter 1)
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