What is the historic family information that gives the reader a glimpse into the book's setting?Based on the knowledge learnt in Chapter 1.

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cldbentley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several pieces of information found in Chapter 1 of To Kill a Mockingbird that provide information that allows the reader to gain an understanding of certain elements of the book's setting, especially in relation to the general treatment of minorities in Maycomb, Alabama.  For example, Simon Finch, who considered himself a man of God, conveniently "forgot" certain Biblical strictures specifically related to the human slave trade in order to allow himself to purchase slaves so that he could run a successful plantation.  In addition, Simon did not pursue a career as a doctor, since doing so might have led him into temptation as a direct result of financial abundance, but he "died rich." 

Apparently, the Civil War would have angered Simon Finch, but not because of any relativity to ending the inhumane treatment of slaves and halting the practice of slavery; the war would have raised Simon's ire due to its effect on his family's financial standing.  Scout's telling of Simon's views informs the reader that the sympathies of many Southerners were not considerate of the minorities who lived around them. 

When Scout recounts the tale of her father's representation of the two Haverfords who murdered the town's best blacksmith, she reveals the illogical ways of thinking that was to become apparent in other characters.  The attitudes of entitlement, pride, and stubborness possessed by the Haverfords, which ultimately led to their deaths, are later found in Bob Ewell and also lead to his downfall.  Had Bob lived in another society, Tom Robinson would have been found innocent and Bob Ewell would have been the one to pay the price.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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