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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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What do we learn about the differences between the north and the south side of Maycomb in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird? How do we know this?

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The differences between the north and the south side of Maycomb in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird can be seen through character descriptions and their alignment with one another. Those who live in the northern part of the county are typically rowdier, more uncivilized, and more racist than those who live in the southern part of the county.

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Based on Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, one might conclude that those who live in the north of Maycomb, as well as in the north of the county in general, are typically rowdier, more uncivilized, and more racist. In contrast, those who live in the south

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live in the south, while typically social rejects, have more sensible and accepting dispositions. The above conclusions can be based on character descriptions and which direction the characters live in.Early in the book, we learn that Mrs. Henry Lafeyette Dubose lives two houses north of the Finches (Ch. 1). Mrs. Dubose is described as the meanest old woman in the neighborhood, and we can tell she is racist based on the insults she hurls at the children about their father each time they walk past her house: "Your father's no better than the niggers and trash he works for!" (Ch. 11).We further learn that the Cunninghams live in Old Sarum, a town in the "northern part of the county" (Ch. 1). Though the Cunninghams are generally honest, good people, they are also farmers with little education. Walter Cunningham Sr. leads a mob of Cunninghams to the county jail with the purpose of lynching Tom Robinson before he can stand trial, which is a very clear indicator that the Cunninghams have racist beliefs.To the south of the Finches live the Radleys. Though the Radleys are eccentric due to their religious beliefs as foot-washing Baptists, Arthur (Boo) Radley proves to be one of the most caring characters in the story, as evidenced by the fact that he reaches out to the children in his own quiet, reclusive way and saves their lives by the end of the story.In addition, we know that Dolphus Raymond lives in the south end of the county based on the narrator Scout's descriptions of the passersby on the day of Tom Robinson's trial. On the day of the trial, she, Jem, and Dill stand on the Finches' front lawn and watch the "people from the south end of the county" pass the Finch house on their way to the courthouse (Ch. 16). Dolphus Raymond is one of those who passes by, "lurch[ing] by on his thoroughbred" (Ch. 16). Dolphus Raymond, though a wealthy landowner, is rumored to be the town drunk. He is also disapproved of by the rest of Maycomb society for living with and having children with an African-American woman. We later learn that he only pretends to be drunk to give Maycomb citizens an excuse to believe for his socially unusual behavior. As he explains to Scout and Jem, he would rather give Maycomb citizens an excuse for his behavior than ostracize himself from them entirely, which demonstrates his compassion for others and sense of personal humility. Therefore, not only is Dolphus Raymond not a racist person, but he is also a very kind and compassionate person; plus, he lives in the southern side of the county, far away from the more racist citizens on the northern side.

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