What evidence is there in Chapter 2 of widespread poverty in the Maycomb area in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?In Harper Lee's 'To Kill a Mockingbird.'

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parkerlee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The story is historically set during the Great Depression of the 30s. As Atticus explains to Scout, even otherwise 'rich' people are 'poor' during this time. Cash flow is at a stalemate. For instance, Atticus Finch accepts food instead of money in return for legal services rendered to Mr Cunningham since he has no money with which to pay. The old sytem of barter is one way people accomodate one another during this economic crunch.

It is also mentioned that the Maycomb courthouse is less run down that public buildings in other small towns since it is the county seat. Evidently, even the budget of the state has been "hard hit" since the usual renovation of public buildings hasn't been done. Just the buildings bearing the most prestige can afford a facelift!

Later the reader learns that the Ewell children don't have to go to school since they need to help out at the farm just to be able to get by. It is more urgent that they have something to eat than to be able to go to school.

yamaguchit | Student

The novel To Kill a Mockingbird takes place right in the heart of The Great Depression. During this time, poverty and unemployment was unfortunately, everywhere. In the beginning of this book, Scout tells the story through her eyes and explains all of the poverty that she witnesses. Students don't go to school because the families need them back at home working on the farm, the city is run down and unable to stay up to standards, and even the Finch family is struggling. Simply by reading through the details of the first few chapters in this book, readers can clearly see where poverty comes in. 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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