When was the last time it snowed in To Kill a Mockingbird's Maycomb County?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 8, Maycomb experiences unusually cold weather and a rare snowfall, which initially terrifies Scout, who has never seen snow before. On the morning of the snowfall, Atticus receives a phone call from Eula May, who tells him that school is cancelled and that it has not snowed in Maycomb since 1885. The children end up enjoying their snow day and attempt to build a snowman, which they make out of a mixture of dirt and snow. Jem initially creates a snowman that resembles their overweight neighbor, Mr. Avery, but is forced to alter its appearance and ends up making the snowman resemble Miss Maudie.

Later that night, Atticus wakes the children because Miss Maudie's home has caught on fire. He then instructs Jem and Scout to stand in the Radleys' yard at a safe distance from the fire. The children watch as Atticus and their neighbors help save Maudie's furniture before her home burns down.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The unexpected and unseasonable snowfall that hit Maycomb in Chapter 8 took most of the town's citizens by surprise. Dick Avery blamed "bad children" like Jem and Scout for the snow, claiming that it hadn't snowed in town "since Appomattox." ("Appomattox" refers to the Virginia town in which General Robert E. Lee surrendered his Confederate army in 1865. Avery was wrong about it being the last time to snow in Maycomb, however.) Atticus told Jem and Scout that it was some of "the coldest weather since 1885," and this proved to be accurate. According to the town's telephone operator, Eula May, who made the public announcement that schools would be closed,

"... it has not snowed in Maycomb County since 1885."  (Eula May, Chapter 8)

So, it had been four decades--about 40 years--since the previous snowfall in Maycomb.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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