Essay on Social Class and Family Groups in To Kill a Mockingbird

Essay on Social Class and Family Groups in To Kill a Mockingbird

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How far do you think Harper Lee has effectively shown social class and
family groups to be important at that time?

The rigid class structure and social stratification of Maycomb County
had a profound effect on the events in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee. The impact of this class structure was especially
evident in the trial of Tom Robins on, a Maycomb Negro. The extreme
prejudice of the town eventually led to the unjust conviction of
Robinson for a crime he did not commit. Family groups were also seen
to be important. This is evident when a fire breaks out in Maycomb and
the whole community comes together, just like one big family. They put
all their differences aside in order to help one of the much loved
citizens of Maycomb, Miss Maudie. However, when there is no uproar or
unusual circumstances, the people of Maycomb County tend to stick to
their own morals and own ways of life.

The society of Maycomb County had a definite structure. This structure
contained four classes. The first and upper class consisted of
white/Caucasians who were considered "rich" in the post-depression
years. Characters who fit into this class were Atticus Finch, a
well-off, highly respected lawyer and citizen in town, and Judge
Taylor, the justice of Maycomb County and judge at the Robinson trial.
Other character’s who belonged to this upper class were Miss Maudie
Atkinson, an open- minded, kind woman, and Miss Stephanie Crawford,
the renowned gossip of the town.

The second class in Maycomb County included the lower class, white
workers, and primarily farmers who struggled to make ends meet. The
Cunninghams, Dolphus Raymond, and the mysterious Radley family
represented this group. The third class of Maycomb...


... middle of paper ...


...ty that
existed in America is shown within Maycomb.

For example: Atticus is affected as a lawyer as his clients cannot
afford to pay him therefore, causing him to have financial problems.
The Depression is also shown through the Cunningham family within the
book as, their farm struggles. Atticus and the Cunningham's show that
unity takes place as, The Cunningham's cannot afford to pay him for
some work he has done. So they pay him back in ways they can. For
example: Mr Cunningham paid Atticus instalments, he gave him a sack of
hickory nuts etc. When Scout asked her father why he paid him in this
way Atticus simply said; " Because that's the only way he can pay me.
He has no money."

This shows that Atticus understands and does not penalise them
because, they have no other way to pay him. This again shows unity as
he could have refused to work for him.

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