What are some essential family values and family history that have shaped the people of Maycomb in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?

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katemschultz | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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Scout tells the reader of the Finch family history in Maycomb County, going way back to the Civil War. The Finch family has a long-standing name in the area, and this can be seen when Aunt Alexandra is so insistent that the children "keep up" the family name. Atticus is more open minded, allowing people to be accepted for what or who they are. He is a single father, doing his best to raise his children--he believes in fairness and wants to help those around him. He doesn't allow his children or himself to give in to the town's gossip.

The Radley family has allowed itself to be shaped by its religious values and the actions of their son, Arthur (Boo). Because of Boo's rebellious activities when he was younger, the Radleys have become reclusive, allowing the town to make up a lot of their history. They have become "ghosts" in the town, and while some may see this as shameful, it could be a sign of strength--they are doing what they believe in despite the ramifications of the gossip from town and the effects on their son, Boo.

Lastly, Miss Maudie is also from The Landing and a long-time friend of the Finches. She has never been married, and spends a lot of time in her yard with her gardens and flowers. Many of the more religious-types in town feel she is committing a sin by being outside rather than inside, reading her Bible. She also refuses to give in to the gossip, saying she wants to enjoy the outdoors God has created for her.

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