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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, how do the Finches deal with the Great Depression?

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The Great Depression was a time of economic hardship in the United States.  People of all classes were negatively impacted by the Depression.  In Maycomb, both the farmers and the professionals were impacted.  Atticus explained why to his children:

... professional people were poor because the farmers were poor. As Maycomb County was farm country, nickels and dimes were hard to come by for doctors and dentists and lawyers (To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 2).

The Finch family had very little money because of this.  They did not, however, go hungry or cold.  When Mr. Cunningham required legal services from Atticus, he paid him in various items because he had no cash.  For months, Mr. Cunningham dropped off everything from firewood to turnip greens to hickory nuts.  Though Atticus made no money from the services he provided to Mr. Cunningham, his family gained food to eat and wood to keep them warm in the winter.  Atticus also made some money from his job as a state legislator.  

Living simply was also key for the survival of the Finch family during the Depression.  Atticus rarely drove his car, and instead he chose to walk to work.  This saved money on gasoline.

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