What four classes of people are present in the Maycomb society in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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

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Jem probably explains this question best during his conversation with Scout in Chapter 23. Scout had asked her Aunt Alexandra for permission to invite Walter Cunningham Jr. to the Finch house, but she refused, claiming that "he--is--trash, that's why..." Scout didn't agree that Walter was like Burris Ewell, and Jem explained his own way of thinking. According to Jem, "There's four kinds of folks in the world..."

  • "Ordinary folk," like the Finches and their neighbors.
  • "The kind like the Cunninghams out in the woods"--poor people who were honest and hard-working but down on their luck.
  • "The kind like the Ewells down at the dump"--the true type of "trash" that Alexandra had called Walter.
  • The Negroes of Maycomb.

When Scout asked about the "Chinese, and the Cajuns down in Baldwin County," Jem further explained that he meant only those people in Maycomb County, and that

"... our kind of folks don't like the Cunninghams, the Cunninghams don't like the Ewells, and the Ewells hate and despise the colored folks."