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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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Locations in Maycomb in To Kill a Mockingbird

Summary:

Important locations in Maycomb include the Finch family home, the Radley house, the Maycomb courthouse, and the school. These settings are central to the story, providing the backdrop for key events and social dynamics that shape the characters' experiences and the unfolding of the narrative.

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Can you identify some locations in To Kill a Mockingbird's Maycomb?

Harper Lee's story comes alive and seems true to us because she uses descriptions of places to create the texture of a real town. Description pulls us in and locates us, so that we feel we are there.

One important location is described in chapter 1, on page five. This is Boo Radley's house. From Scout's words, which go on beyond what I will quote below, we can understand how the "haunted house" aspect of this property drew the attention and curiosity of Dill, Jem, and Scout:

The Radley Place jutted into a sharp curve beyond our house. Walking south, one faced its porch; the sidewalk turned and ran beside the lot. The house was low, was once white with a deep front porch and green shutters, but had long ago darkened to the color of the slate-gray yard around it. Rain-rotted shingles drooped over the eaves of the veranda; oak trees kept the sun away. The remains of a picket drunkenly guarded the front yard—a “swept” yard that was never swept—where johnson grass and rabbittobacco grew in abundance.

Another important location is the Maycomb County courthouse. It is described in chapter 16 on page 86. As the location of Tom Robinson's trial, it is central in the novel. As with the Radley house, the courthouse reflects its people: in this case white people who don't want to forfeit one bit of the past:

for the south porch, the Maycomb County courthouse was early Victorian, presenting an unoffensive vista when seen from the north. From the other side, however, Greek revival columns clashed with a big nineteenth-century clock tower housing a rusty unreliable instrument, a view indicating a people determined to preserve every physical scrap of the past.

The novel has many important settings, and as you read the book, you may notice how they share characteristics with their owners.

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Can you identify some locations in To Kill a Mockingbird's Maycomb?

TEN IMPORTANT LOCATIONS IN MAYCOMB

The Finch House.  Atticus's family lives on the unnamed "main residential street in town."  (Chapter 1)

The Radley House.  The Radleys live just down the street from the Finches, and "The Radley Place jutted into a sharp curve beyond our house."  (Chapter 1)

The Ewell House.  Bob's home is "behind the town garbage dump" not far from the Quarters.  (Chapter 17)

Finch's Landing.  Located on the banks of the Alabama River, it is in an adjacent county to Maycomb, which is "some twenty miles east of Finch's Landing."  (Chapter 1)

The School.  Jem and Scout have a short walk to the local school, which is "around the corner past the Radley Place..."  (Chapter 2)

Old Sarum.  Home of the Cunninghams, Old Sarum is "in the northern part of the county."  (Chapter 1)

The Secret Knothole.  Boo's hiding place is located in one of two oaks that "stood at the edge of the Radley lot."  (Chapter 4

The Maycomb Tribune Office.  B. B. Underwood can usually be found here, "on the northwest corner of the square."  (Chapter 15)

The Maycomb Jail.  This "hideous" building is "wedged between Tyndal's Hardware Store and The Maycomb Tribune office."  (Chapter 15)

See the link below for an excellent eNotes map of Maycomb.

http://static.enotes.com/images/enotes/9061/large.jpg

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What are some locations in Maycomb in To Kill a Mockingbird?

When making a map of Maycomb, there are several important places you will need to include.  All of these places have significance to the plot.

The Radley House- The Radley House is important because it is a mythical place for the Finch children, and the source of gossip for the adults in the town.  They Radleys live near the schoolyard.  The Finch children have to pass the house to go to and from school.

 [Our] summertime boundaries (within calling distance of Calpurnia) were Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose's house two doors to the north of us, and the Radley Place three doors to the south. (ch 1, p. 3)

There is a tree at the edge of the Radley property where the children find gifts from Boo Radley.  When Scout walks Boo home at the end of the book, she stands on the Radley porch and realizes what life must have been like for him.

Atticus’s House- You can tell where Atticus’s house is from this description, but Scout also comments that they live on the main residential street, so Maycomb is clearly a small town (p. 3).

Miss Rachel (Dill’s aunt) is the Finch’s next door neighbor, with Miss Maudie and Miss Stephanie Crawford down the street.

The courthouse- The courthouse is located downtown and there is a town square.

In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square. (p. 3)

Of course, the courthouse is where one of the book’s most significant events takes place—the trial of Tom Robinson.

The Ewell’s place- The Ewell’s live outside of town near the dump.

Maycomb's Ewells lived behind the town garbage dump in what was once a Negro cabin. The cabin's plank walls were supplemented with sheets of corrugated iron, its roof shingled with tin cans hammered flat … (ch 17, p. 125).

Mayella Ewell’s encounter with Tom Robinson in the Ewell house leads to the events that are pivotal to the book.

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What are some locations in Maycomb in To Kill a Mockingbird?

One location referenced in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is Finch's Landing, which is the homestead developed by the Finches' family ancestor Simon Finch. Finch's Landing is located, according to Scout, on "the banks of the Alabama River" and 20 miles west of Maycomb (Ch. 1). In Chapter 9, Scout describes the house and farm as standing on top of a high bluff, meaning a cliff. Exactly "three hundred and sixty-six steps" lead down the bluff to a "jetty," which is another name for a landing pier or a wharf. At the wharf, Finch slaves used to load bales of cotton and produce from the farm onto riverboats from Mobile, plus unload supplies for the farm including "blocks of ice, flour and sugar, farm equipment, and feminine apparel" (Ch. 9).

A second location described by Scout in the book is the Finches' neighborhood. Miss Rachel Haverford, Dill's Aunt, is the Finches' immediate next-door neighbor to the north, as we can deduce from the fact that the Finch children can look over the fence into her yard while playing in their backyard, which is what they did in search of new puppies on the day they met Dill in the first chapter. Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose, the meanest old lady in the neighborhood, lives two doors to the north of the Finches. Mrs. Dubose also lives near the post office, and the children must walk past her house to get to town or to meet Atticus at the post office corner on his way home from work each evening. Cecil Jacobs' house is the last house on the Finches' side of the street, just before the post office. Also on the Finches' side of the street is the Radleys' house, which is three doors south of the Finches. The children must walk past this house to get to the schoolyard.

We also learn the names of the Finches' neighbors across the street based on Scout's descriptions. The Finches' friend Miss Maudie Atkinson lives across the street and one door down from the Finches, which we learn when Scout describes the fact that her new first-grade teacher, Miss Caroline, boards in Miss Maudie's "upstairs front room," which is "across the street one door down from [the Finches]" (Ch. 2).  Miss Stephanie Crawford lives immediately across the street of the Finches and is Miss Maudie's southerly next-door neighbor, as we can deduce by the fact that the fire truck stops just in front of Miss Stephanie's house in Chapter 8, and Miss Maudie arranges to stay with Miss Stephanie while Miss Maudie's house is being rebuilt. Finally, we can also deduce that Mr. Avery, a grouchy old man, is Miss Maudie's northerly next-door neighbor, as he lives across the street from Mrs. Dubose (Ch. 6). 

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