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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee
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What other people/families are considered "trash" in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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It depends on the perspective from where you're looking. From a reader's perspective, the Ewells are considered lowlifes because of the way they treat the blacks in Maycomb. They are so low on the social and socio-economic spectrum that they have to bully and persecute the only people who would have been considered "lower" than them in that society at the time- the Robinsons.

Scout initially sees Walter Cunningham as a lowlife because he is poor and when he comes to dinner with the Finches, she is apalled by his eating habits, but Calpurnia quickly puts her in her place and explains that she is no better than anybody else just because she has more luxuries than others.

From the perspective of those in the town who did not support what Atticus was doing, the Finches soon became "trash" to them. Atticus was "trash" because he sided with a black man. It was no longer relevant that the Ewells were the lowlifes of the town, because now it was a black man against a white man, and as a white man, Atticus should have sided with the other white man, regardless of what was right or wrong. There were very few people in the town who outwardly agreed with what Atticus was doing. By association, Jem and Scout became "trash" as well because they were the children of the man who was trying to help a black man beat a white man in court.

During that time, though slavery was no longer existent, there was still heavy racism, especially in the South. It didn't matter if the blacks were the most upstanding citizens; they were still considered "trash" to many of the white families then. Because of these attitudes, many people sided with Bob Ewell and against Atticus because they just didn't agree with what he was doing. Of course, from the perspective of the reader, those who are most prejudice- the Cunninghams, the Ewells, and Mrs. Dubose would be considered "trash," not because of their socio-economic status, but because of their strong prejudices and feeling of hatred toward the black people of the community.

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Although Aunt Alexandra considers Walter Cunningham Jr. "trash," Jem and Scout do not. The Ewells seem to stand alone at the bottom of Maycomb's human trash heap, and they fittingly live adjacent to the town dump. A few other Maycomb citizens may be considered "trash" by Alexandra's standards.

  • "Among the most diminutive of men," Little Chuck Little "was another member of the population who didn't know where his next meal was coming from, but he was a born gentleman."
  • Although Cecil Jacobs lives in town, he infuriates Scout by insulting Atticus with the "N" word.
  • Aunt Alexandra would never agree, but her grandson Francis Hancock and his claims that Atticus is a "nigger-lover" ranks him among the most infuriating characters in the novel.
  • Negroes are not worthy to mix socially with Maycomb's whites; Alexandra even forbids Jem and Scout from visiting Calpurnia at her home in the Quarters.
  • Mr. Avery's exhibition of urination could be considered trashy, but he showed his bravery being the last man out of Miss Maudie's burning house.
  • Morphine addiction can be better blamed for Mrs. Dubose's racial slurs rather than her being "trash."
  • Lula, the black woman who is angered by Jem's and Scout's appearance at the First Purchase Church, is probably the most negatively-presented Negro in the novel.
  • Maycomb's Idlers' Club was a collection of "good ol' boys" who might fit the description of "trash" to some.
  • Many citizens probably considered Dolphus Raymond "trash."
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