To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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What is the function of relating the Finch family history at the outset of the novel?

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Rebeka Auer eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The purpose seems to be to show how far her family has come since her ancestor Simon Finch made the trip from England to the promised land of America.

Scout describes Simon Finch in rather negative terms, saying that "his piety was only exceeded by his stinginess" and that, despite his religious beliefs, he bought three slaves to work his land.

Subsequent generations were expected to work at the homestead, so it is source of pride for Scout that her father, Atticus , broke with tradition and became not only a lawyer but a good man. She may feel that the family's status was not truly earned, but at least she can...

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