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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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Where are references to specific locations in Maycomb County found in To Kill a Mockingbird?

The dump, OK cafe, jail, bank, oak tree, knot hole, Mr. Avery's house, Jitney Jungle, V J Elmore's

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In To Kill A Mockingbird, Maycomb County conforms to its own set of rules. It keeps within the law but usurps its interpretation in order to uphold its prejudiced and unjust views. While Atticus does everything in his power to ensure justice for the innocent Tom Robinson, he cannot change the perception of the narrow-minded and hypocritical "folks."

In discussing some of the places in the story, there is a "solitary oak" referenced in chapter 6, on page 55, which is in the schoolyard. Then there is the tree in the Radley's garden. The children are obsessed with the Radley's place and all the gossip about Boo Radley. Boo begins leaving gifts in the knot hole of the tree in a desperate attempt to make a connection. There are various references to it, one of which is in chapter 7, on page 60 when the children find a ball of grey twine in "our tree."  

The dump is a significant place in the story as the Ewell family live "on the same plot of land behind the Maycomb dump" (ch 13, page 131, 1988 ed) and it is Mayella Ewell who has accused Tom of raping her. Page numbers may vary according to which edition of To Kill A Mockingbird is being read or studied but the chapters will remain the same. In a 1988 edition, the Ewell family is first mentioned when Mayella's brother, Burris, is in Scout's class at school (chapter 3). The reader knows immediately that this family is desperately poor, with no education (this is Burris's third year in First Grade!), without a mother and Burris is described by Scout as "the filthiest human..." (page 27). Mayella's father thinks he is above the law but, because his children will suffer otherwise, the people of Maycomb County become "blind to the activities" (page 31), which information foreshadows the tragedy to follow. The dump itself is described in chapter 17 on page 172 in relation to the Ewell's property, separated only by a "fence... bits of tree-limbs, broomsticks and tool shafts..." 

V J Elmore's is the shop with the twirling baton which Scout has admired for some time (chapter 11, page 104). The children passed Mrs. Dubose's house on their way. Mrs. Dubose makes cruel and heartless comments to the children and suggests that Scout will ultimately work at the OK Cafe, "a dim organization on the north side of the square." The thought  terrifies Scout as its location is suspect and not a preferred part of town (chapter 11, page 105). 

The bank building is where Atticus has his law practice, having moved from the courthouse for the quieter location. It is described in chapter 15, on page 151, in terms of its relevance to Atticus's practice. The jail is described on page 152 as "the most venerable and hideous of the county's buildings... a miniature Gothic joke..." The children cross the square because Atticus is not in his office. It is nighttime and the children should not be out. They stop in the doorway of the Jitney Jungle, (page 152) the supermarket, and watch some men approach Atticus. Jitney Jungle is the place where Miss Stephanie pretends that she is going when (in chapter 17) she wants to go and find out more about Tom's trial.  

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Mr. Avery doesn't have a house, he boards (rents a room) at Miss Maudie Atkinson's house. Chapter 6's first few pages verifies this.

There is a great description in chapter 15 of the main parts of the town square: the jitney jungle, the jail and the bank. In my book, the pages on which I find quotes for these are 149-151.

In chapter 11, Mrs. Dubose criticizes Scout and talks about her eventually working at the OK Cafe. At the very beginning of that same chapter, the first page or two should have VJ Elmores in every edition of the book.

Chapter 12 might give you information about the dump... if not, check chapter 17-18, Mayella's testimony. During her testimony much narration occurs about where they live.

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