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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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What passages in To Kill a Mockingbird describe Maycomb County's locations?

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Mrs. Dubose's house is two doors to the north of the Finches, and the Radley Place is three doors to the south. The house next door to Miss Maudie Atkinson's (the Finches' neighbor) is also across the street from Miss Rachel Haverford, who lives next door to the Finches. Mr. Avery resides across from Miss Rachel and immediately next door to Miss Maudie.

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Many passages describing the setting of Maycomb can be found in the opening chapter of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. One of the first things we learn is that, when Scout and Jem are younger, there are two houses on their street that they refuse to approach, and these houses are considered their "summertime boundaries." The first house belongs to the old and cantankerous woman named Mrs. Dubose and is two doors to the north of the Finches; the second belongs to the Radleys and is three doors to the south of the Finches, as we see in the following passage:

[O]ur summertime boundaries ... 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)

Later in this same chapter, we learn that the Radley Place stands on a "sharp curve beyond" the Finches house so that, walking south, "one faced its porch." Also, based on information in this same chapter, we can deduce that Dill's aunt, Miss Rachel Haverford, is the Finches' immediate northerly next-door neighbor. We know this is the case because, the morning Scout and Jem meet Dill, they are playing in their back yard when they hear a noise. They rush over to the "wire fence" separating Miss Rachel's yard from their own, expecting to see new puppies but instead find Dill.

Chapter 2 also provides some revelatory information describing the layout of the Finches' neighborhood. Of particular importance, we learn that Scout's first-grade teacher, Miss Caroline, lives with Miss Maudie as her boarder:

She boarded across the street one door down from us in Miss Maudie Atkinson's upstairs front room. (Ch. 2)

This tells us that Miss Maudie, a close friend of the Finches, lives diagonally across the street from the Finches.

The moment of the fire in Chapter 8 reveals further information about the layout of the Finches' neighborhood in Maycomb. Scout describes in her narration that "smoke was rolling off our house and Miss Rachel's house like fog off a riverbank" (Ch. 8). This is because Miss Rachel, who is the Finches' northerly next-door neighbor, lives right across the street from Miss Maudie, whose house is on fire. Scout further relays that "[a]nother fire truck appeared and stopped in front of Miss Stephanie Crawford's." This is because Miss Stephanie lives directly next door to Miss Maudie and directly across the street from the Finches, making Miss Stephanie the southerly next-door neighbor of Miss Maudie. Earlier, in Chapter 6, we learn that "Mr. Avery boarded across the street from Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose's house." If Mrs. Dubose lives two doors to the north of the Finches, immediately next door to Miss Rachel who lives across from Miss Maudie, then we know Mr. Avery is Miss Maudie's second next-door neighbor, her northerly neighbor.

Other information about the neighborhood, such as where the school is located, where Cecil Jacobs lives, and where the post office and town square are located, can be found in chapters 2, 4, and 15.

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If you have the book that has a lilac cover, I am happy to give you some page numbers of good locations:

First, when creating a map of Maycomb, consider that there are 4 different locations: a main residential street, a town square, a dump, and a Negro settlement beyond that dump.

Here are page numbers for some of the places:

  • 4-6 town, Finches house, Radleys, Dubose
  • 8-9 Radleys, school
  • 16 Miss Maudie Atkinson's
  • 35, 49, 99-100 149-151

I imagine the town on the left of a landscape piece of paper, the main residential street leading off of that headed right, at the end of that longer street, the Radley's, then a road that turns and heads to the south (down) toward the dump, the Ewells and the Negro Settlement called The Quarters that has First Purchase Church in it.

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What passages in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird describe Scout believing that there is prejudice in Maycomb County?

In Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, one of the best passages depicting Scout's understanding of prejudices in Maycomb County is found in Chapter 23, soon after her Aunt Alexandra denies her permission to invite her schoolmate Walter Cunningham home for lunch once school starts again.

In Chapter 23, Scout, Jem, and Atticus get into a discussion about the justice of the jury system. When Atticus informs his children that he allowed a kin of the Cunninghams to remain on the jury, a Cunningham who nearly acquitted Tom Robinson, Scout develops newfound respect for the Cunninghams. As a result of her newfound respect, she announces she plans to invite her schoolmate Walter home, a remark that receives only scorn from her aunt. When Scout asks why she can't invite him home, Aunt Alexandra replies, "Jean Louise, there is no doubt in my mind that they're good folks. But they're not our kind of folks." She even goes so far as to call the Cunninghams "trash," which makes Scout angry to the point that she breaks down into tears and wants to attack her aunt.

While Jem is trying to comfort his sister, he explains what he has come to understand about differences in people in Maycomb County:

There's four kinds of folks in the world. There's the ordinary kind like us and the neighbors, there's the kind like the Cunninghams out in the woods, the kind like the Ewells down at the dump, and the Negroes. (Ch. 23)

But, after a period of debate, Scout protests, saying, "Naw, Jem, I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks." Scout's statement shows she thinks all people should be treated equally, with the same consideration and kindness. It also shows she knows that if anyone doesn't see the sameness in all humanity, it is because people are viewing each other through prejudiced eyes. She became angry with her aunt because she understands her aunt is judging the Cunninghams to be beneath the Finches out of prejudice whereas Scout sees both families as being the same sort of "good" people.

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