• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What does the reader learn about the social setting in "To Kill A Mockingbird?"

Extracts from this document...


Coursework What does the reader learn about the social setting in "To Kill A Mockingbird?" Nick Hayden 11SMc 30th October 2003 Harper Lee, the author of the compelling novel, 'To Kill A Mockingbird,' created the town of Maycomb and placed it in the southern sate of Alabama. The novel set in the 1930's some 70 years after the civil war had been fought and lost and slavery was abolished, the black residents of the town still receive racist abuse from the white people of Maycomb. The blacks who lived in the southern states received more racial discrimination than the blacks living in the northern states this is because the southern states were agricultural and used blacks as slaves whereas the northern states were industrial so there wasn't such a demand for slaves. America at this time was enduring a deep depression, courtesy of the Wall Street crash 1929, which affected everyone. Maycomb is a typical 1930's town. The town is very close knit which I think is a positive feature of the town as this gives a good community spirit. People from the town benefit from the town being close knit; 'The men of Maycomb, in all degrees of dress and undress, took furniture from Miss Maudie's house to a yard across the street.' When Miss Maudie's house set ablaze everyone from the town turned up to give their support. ...read more.


This is backed up by something that Aunt Alexandra says, 'there is no doubt in my mind that they're good folks. But they're not our kind of folks.' This shows prejudice towards the people in different classes. Scout who is younger and more na�ve, disagrees with this and says, 'Naw, Jem, I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks.' This shows Scouts innocence and childish characteristics. It is quite obvious that poverty is a problem in Maycomb. 'Nothing to buy and no money to buy it with,' this is how the introduction to the book describes the poverty. The Finches are not badly affected by poverty compared to some of the families that we learn about in the book. The Cunninghams can't afford to pay Atticus for the legal work he does for them in money, instead he pays in produce from his farm, 'not in money, but before theyears out I'll have been paid,' 'the Cunninghams are country folks, farmers, and the crash hit them hardest.' The Cunninghams are respected members of the community because they try to lead a normal life and do not use their poverty as an excuse for bad behaviour. The Ewell family are in a similar situation to the Cunninghams. Unlike the Cunninghams the Ewells do not abide by the law. 'Atticus said the Ewells had been the disgrace of Maycomb for three generations.' ...read more.


He is always seen with a bottle in a brown paper bag, which everyone expects to be alcohol, but turns out to be nothing but cola. He tells Scout and Dill at the court case this, and then tells them that he does it not for his own benefit but to give everyone else a reason, 'if I weave a little and drink out of this sack, folks can say Dolphus Raymond's in the clutches of whisky - that's why he won't change his ways.' This shows that people won't accept him if he says that he loves a black women. There are several examples of segregation in the novel. Only white children attend Jem and Scout's school, there is a separate one for black children. Jem and Scout go with Calpurnia to her church, which is for black people and receive some disapproving comments from several members of the congregation. In the courtroom, white people sit on the lower level and black people sit above in the upper level. Racism is described in the book as 'Maycomb's usual disease' Perhaps it is described as a disease because it spreads and people can't help catching it. I think that Haper Lee's attitude towards the fictional town of Maycomb which is partly autobiographical is fond. Haper Lee expresses some of her own memories into the book through the children. Lee's childhood would have been much like Scout and Jems. Lee herself lived in Alabama so would have seen the same attitudes towards certain people as Scout encounters in the novel. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Harper Lee section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Harper Lee essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Examine the different kinds of prejudice and injustice which you have found in 'To ...

    4 star(s)

    This is more prejudice than injustice as Atticus does not know of their assessment and so does not suffer. On Scout's first day at school she is told off for already knowing how to read and write. Her teacher tells her that Atticus is a bad tutor and that he must not educate her anymore.

  2. What does Scout learn during the course of the novel? Make sure to include ...

    After witnessing the adult injustice of her Uncle Jack, she learns that fighting is not the answer. Courage is not the ability to fight, but it is something inside: "I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand."

  1. How effectively does Harper Lee convey her ideas about prejudice in her novel To ...

    They see Calpurnia as a mothering replacement and not only as a black housewife. Atticus agrees with this statement by saying 'she's been harder on them in some ways than a mother would have been.' This is evident through her actions: 'Calpurnia bent down and kissed me' (pg.

  2. What impressions are there of life in Maycomb in "To Kill a Mockingbird"

    Maycomb is a very religious town and going to church is Maycomb's "principal recreation". The community have very strong beliefs yet they are hypocrites to their beliefs. Maycomb's view of believing is taking communion, going to church and reading the Bible.

  1. To Kill A Mockingbird Full Summary

    Atticus explains that he has to follow his conscience, no matter what anyone else in the town says. Jem returns. Atticus says that one can't hold a sick old lady responsible for what she says. Jem says that Mrs. Dubose wants him to read out loud to her every afternoon for two hours for a full month.

  2. Discuss the Theme of Outsiders in 'To Kill a Mockingbird'

    Part of this is merely due to rumours that have spread over years. However through his considerate and thoughtful actions, like saving Jem and Scout in the woods, it is clear to the reader that he is simply misunderstood, and these people are merely narrow-minded about accepting the unfamiliar.

  1. I am going to write about the two main problems in Maycomb society which ...

    and the other fact which is that prejudice has been passed down through generations. Prejudice can come in many shapes and forms. Harper Lee included in the novel lots of different situations where prejudice is present. Lots of characters in the book are prejudiced against others.

  2. Using Tom Robinson’s trial as a starting point explain what we learn about Maycomb’s ...

    the end of her answer to Atticus' question she stops and cuts her sentence short. This shows us that she is clearly not telling the truth because she was about to say something but something is stopping her from doing so.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work