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Although all people in Maycomb are quite different from each other, most of them, especially the more accepted, show respect, discipline and politeness. This can be seen in the Missionary Circle where ladies sit together to talk, drink tea and eat cakes (p. 253-259) and although they might not always agree on everything, they never directly say so. For example when Mrs Merriweather starts to criticise Atticus’ doing in Tom Robinson’s case, at a Missionary Circle in front of Scout - not naming anyone - Ms Maudie interrupts her and cuts off the subject without drawing anybody else’s attention to the quarrel.
There are not many people in Maycomb who are open-minded and willing to accept different people and/or things, which makes it difficult to change. So after loosing the trial, Ms Maudie admits that she did not think Atticus had any chance of winning but that he was “the only man who could keep a jury out that long” and that it was a step, if only a baby-step, towards equality (p. 238).
Furthermore this intolerance leads to Jem and Scout being confronted with offences against Atticus’ decisions by town people and fellow students. For one thing Mrs Dubose, an ‘evil’ neighbour of the Finch’s, criticises Atticus in a way that Jem is not willing to ignore and ends in him cutting down all her beloved camellias (p. 112-114). This in turn leads to Jem having to read to Mrs Dubose for more than a month (p. 117-122). For another thing the children at school badmouth Atticus probably with what they overheard their parents saying and this time it is Scout who looses her head a couple of times.
In a small town like Maycomb there is also a lot of gossiping and prejudices against ‘lower class’ people.
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"Life and Religion in To Kill a Mockingbird." 123HelpMe.com. 16 Jun 2019
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