What are Jem's "four kinds of folks", and how do they contrast with Scout's in To Kill a Mockingbird?   

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scout tends to go along with Atticus's belief that there is little difference between most people.

"... everybody's family's just as old as everybody else's. I said did that include the colored folks and Englishmen, and he said yes."

But Jem comes to the conclusion that there are four kinds of people in Maycomb (listed in his own descending order).

  • "The ordinary kind," which includes the Finches and their neighbors;
  • People "out in the woods," like the Cunninghams of Old Sarum;
  • "The Ewells"
  • Negroes

Scout questions Jem about others, such as the "Chinese and the Cajuns down yonder in Baldwin County," but Jem explains that his social order only concerns the people of Maycomb County. He further explains that each group hates the group below them:

"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."

Scout also questions this, since she likes Walter Cunningham Jr., and she wonders why

... Tom's jury, made up of folks like the Cunninghams, (didn't) acquit Tom to spite the Ewells?

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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