Scout Finch is an inquisitive, and intelligent little girl who narrates the story. Her brother Jem is her primary playmate most of the time, and a friend, Dill, who comes in the summer. Scout and her brother are very curious about a mysterious neighbor, Boo Radley, and they work hard one summer trying to get Boo to come out of the house and talk to them. Scout's father is Atticus Finch, a lawyer in their smalll Alabama community of Maycomb. It is the early 1930's, in the midst of the Great Depression, and early in the novel, Scout starts school, getting into several confrontations with her teacher on the very first day. Bob Ewell is a hateful little man who lives near the trash dump outside of town, with his children, at least one of whom he beats regularly, usually while he's drunk. His children are neglected because of his drinking habit, and it is his wrongful accusation of Tom Robinson raping his daughter, when in fact he beat her up himself, that creates the trial in which Atticus must defend the innocent black man.