Where and how can you see the effects of the Great Depression in the play/book To Kill a Mockingbird?

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The Great Depression serves as a subtle backdrop to the events that unfold in the novel, but evidence of its effect on various characters who live in Maycomb is present. For example, when Mr. Cunningham brings Atticus goods rather than money as payment for Atticus's services, the reader understands that...

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The Great Depression serves as a subtle backdrop to the events that unfold in the novel, but evidence of its effect on various characters who live in Maycomb is present. For example, when Mr. Cunningham brings Atticus goods rather than money as payment for Atticus's services, the reader understands that bartering is Mr. Cunningham's only option; he has no money with which to pay his debts, a sign of serious economic hardship. Additionally, Scout, as narrator, is explicit that in Maycomb, there are few things to buy and even less money to buy things with; this difficult economic truth enhances the value of the small items Boo Radley leaves in the tree for Scout and Dill, who are not used to receiving material gifts from anyone at this stage in life.

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Absolutely, the Cunninghams and Ewells represent families living poorly. The difference of course is that the Cunninghams maintain dignity and respect despite their poor living conditions. The Ewells do not. Bob Ewell is happy receiving government checks and then spending it all on alcohol. The community allows the Ewells to hunt out of season just so the children living in the house can eat.

The Cunninghams, in an attempt to maintain dignity, repay Atticus for legal services by giving the Finches stovewood and produce from the Cunningham farm.

One of my favorite moments is early in the novel when Scout asks Atticus if their family, referring to the Finches, is poor and Atticus, to paraphrase, replies that indeed, they are; however, the crash hurt the farmers the most.

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I've always found it interesting that money is very rarely mentioned in To Kill a Mockingbird. There is little talk of buying things at all. One of the only objects that Scout purchases during the entire book is the baton that Jem later uses to destroy Mrs. Dubose's camellias. The kids apparently have no bikes, nor are many toys mentioned. The air rifles they have were a Christmas gift from Uncle Jack. The Finches never eat out, never go shopping, and never even speak of special wants. Atticus rarely drives his car, and apparently many of the neighbors have no automobiles at all. The Depression has apparently taught the children that there is no money available for such frills. Very few of the neighbors speak of such extravagances, either. Dill is one of the few characters who talks of such things, and it is clear that his parents spend money on him to as a response to their constant absences. The Cunninghams and Ewells are among the hardest hit of the white families, and it is clear that all of Maycomb's black population is cash poor. Nevertheless, Scout speaks of such matters only rarely in TKAM

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