What was the situation in which these words were spoken: "Maycomb county had recently been told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself?"

Expert Answers
readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

These words take place in chapter one of the book. The context is when nothing is happening. Scout is just describing the humdrum life of Maycomb. Maycomb seems like an average boring town of the South. The quote will give you the basic idea.

There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County. But it was a time of vague optimism for some of the people: Maycomb County had recently been told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself.

We lived on the main residential street in town— Atticus, Jem and I, plus Calpurnia our cook. Jem and I found our father satisfactory: he played with us, read to us, and treated us with courteous detachment.

The irony of these words will be seen very soon. In other words, there is a lot to fear in Maycomb county, that is, if you are a black man. We see this when Tom Robinson is falsely accused of raping Mayella Ewell. In the end, Tom Robinson is pronounced guilty, even though he was clearly innocent. Later in prison, he is shot and killed. From this perspective, the words that there is nothing to fear is the furthest thing from the truth. Racism, injustice, and hate all live in Maycomb. Soon Scout, Jem, Dill, and many others will realize this.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question