Why did Miss Maudie's father, Dr. Frank Buford, stay poor in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Today, doctors are among the best-paid professionals in the world. Such was not the case during the early 20th century and Great Depression. Dr. Frank Buford, Maudie's father, apparently had a passion for "anything that grew in the ground," and this obsession kept him a poor man. Instead of sticking to medicine, Buford apparently enjoyed the prospect of being a plantation owner as well, but his crops were unsuccessful. He did pass on his love of the soil to his daughter, who spent most of her time in her garden. Although Scout does not speak further of Dr. Buford, he may well have been forced to accept trade and barter in lieu of cash payments from his clients, just as Atticus and Dr. Reynolds did.