Essay on Maycomb Society in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Essay on Maycomb Society in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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Discuss Harper Lee’s Presentation of Maycomb Society in to Kill a
Mockingbird

Maycomb is described as a “tired old town” where the inhabitants had
“nowhere to go”. Maycomb is very similar to any small southern town in
the 1930’s, sexism, racism and other prejudices are at a peak, and old
traditions are carried out regularly.

To Kill a Mockingbird revolves solely around family, community and
society, the focus point of the book, the rape trial, would not have
occurred if society had not looked down upon the black community.

The society is more the broader, less specific sub category for
Maycomb, something more specific would be community. In the 1930’s
racism was at large, so ghettos were formed, separation between blacks
and whites. It started with smaller, insignificant things. But as time
moved on, shops, buses, schools, and even housing areas became white
or black only. The whites, no matter how badly they lived, looked down
upon the blacks; a good example of this would be the Ewell family.
They were possibly the closest thing to white trash in Maycomb, yet
could still win a trial against a black man, even though all the
evidence was pointing against them.

The black communities were jovial places; they valued their lives more
than their possessions or money, whereas the whites relied on their
income to determine how happy they were. Harper Lee’s presentation of
this is well portrayed throughout the book, particularly during
Mayella’s questioning during the trial, where she recalls that she
often managed to get black people to do jobs for no pay, and the black
people seemed more than willing to help.

However, racism was not the only problem in Maycomb.

The men of the household were expected...


... middle of paper ...


...nsider that they care
about others, but in reality, their meetings soon turn towards the
most recent story going around town.

Harper Lee uses everyday occurrences such as the gossiping to allow
the reader to relate to Maycomb and its inhabitants with greater ease.
When looked into deeper, excluding the racism, Maycomb is not
dissimilar to any small town or village today. Every family is known
and stereotyped, and those views are maintained through the
generations, perhaps passed down in stories and suchlike. Harper Lee
uses this similarity between Maycomb and her childhood residence,
after all, she is perhaps writing about her childhood experiences and
feelings through Scout. This is why Harper Lee’s presentation of
Maycomb society is so well portrayed, because the society is based on
a real community and the residents embodied in fiction by Harper Lee.

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