What is Finch's Landing in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Finch's Landing stands as a relic of the Old South. It is a former plantation, twenty miles from Maycomb, on the banks of the Alabama River. It was once a flourishing cotton plantation begun by Simon Finch of Cornwall, England, and maintained by the male descendants of his family. The end of this prosperity came, as it did to so many other plantations, with the Civil War. After this, Simon's relatives were left with only the land and the large, rambling house located at the end of a two-rut road.

The white house has two stories with verandas that circle it upstairs and downstairs, in the style of many a plantation home, but that is all that is similar to others homes of that style. Inside, Simon Finch had the daughters' bedrooms arranged so that they could only be reached by one staircase, which began in the bedroom of their parents. In this way Simon always was aware of the coming and going of his daughters in the evenings. Remnants of slavery remain, as the kitchen is separated from the rest of the house by a wooden catwalk, and an old bell used to summon slaves or ring as a distress signal still stands on a pole.

Whereas Atticus and his brother Jack have left this residence for independent lives in respected professions, their sister Alexandra remains at the old residence with a "taciturn man" who lies around in a hammock and does little more than watch his fishing lines. In this Old South environment, Alexandra remains a firm believer in tradition as evinced by her continuing to live in the old home and her insistence upon maintaining old traditions. Having never completely separated herself from the old world of the South as her brothers have, Aunt Alexandra maintains certain views that collide with those of the more progressive Atticus.

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tinicraw's profile pic

tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Finch's Landing is where Atticus comes from. He grew up 20 miles west of Maycomb on an old plantation that has been in his family for a few generations. It was settled by an ancestor named Simon Finch who was first involved in the fur-trapping trade. He was also an apothecary and very pious. He apparently grew anything and everything to sustain life except for ice, wheat flour and clothing. They mostly grew cotton, though, and the place was self-sufficient. The end of the Civil War destroyed the South morally and economically. When Atticus left Finch's Landing for law school, he didn't return, but settled instead in Maycomb to maintain his practice. Uncle Jack went to medical school and Aunt Alexandra married and remained on the homestead. Every Christmas is like a family reunion, though, because everyone goes to Finch's Landing to enjoy the holidays and become reacquainted. 

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sagetrieb's profile pic

sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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In Chapter 1 Scout tells us that Finch’s Landing is about 20 miles from Maycomb, where the story takes place. Atticus, whose last name is Finch, comes from Finch’s Landing, the place named after his distant relative Simon Finch.  Atticus left Finch’s Landing to study law and never returned. The significance of the name and place is that Atticus comes from a good family, in that they owned land and prospered, although not an aristocratic family.  This means a good deal to his sister, Alexandra.