Themes of Maycomb

All of the themes of Maycomb County.

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- Everyone knows everyone
- Atticus is related to nearly everyone in Maycomb, through blood or marriage
- Maycomb is very hot
- Based on Monroeville in Alabama, where Harper Lee grew up
- Maycomb is resilient to change
· even snow is rare
· suggests it will take a while for the change of attitudes within Maycomb
- Is used to represent any Southern town

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Racism and Intolerance
-Most whites see blacks as inferior
-Characters use racist words without a thought.
Even Scout says 'Nigger' until Atticus tells her not too.
She then points out everyone else uses the word.
Most characters don't actually see these words as offensive.
They take it for granted that they are above blacks.
-There's loads of other evidence of racism in the town
Blacks and whites are segregated (kept apart).
Black children are not allowed to go to school (Cal teaches her own children).…read more

Page 3

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When it was written racism was still around, she challenged it with the book.
Racism and Intolerance 2)
- Tom's trial is the focus of the book.
-Atticus is prepared to stand up against prejudice
Atticus believes Tom to be innocent.
He calls racism Maycombs 'unusual disease'. He realise how hard it is to change what
people have believed their whole life.
-Things may be starting to change a little by the end.…read more

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Page 5

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-Atticus thinks empathy is really important.
Teaches Jem and Scout that you can't understand someone unless you have stood in their
shoes and considered their point.
Originally Jem and Scout hate Mrs Dubose but after they learn she was only nasty because
she was suffering so much, they begin to understand why Atticus saw her as brave and
from then on they respect her.
-The people of Maycomb aren't too good at empathising.…read more

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You start of disliking characters like Mayella Ewell but then you realise the other side of
them. Mayella is very lonely her red geraniums show she wants a better life.…read more

Page 7

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Childhood and Growing Up
-Scout, Jem and Dill Learn about Life.
The children find out people aren't always what they seem.
Near the end of the book Scout gets Boo to take her arm so it looks like Boo is helping her
along the street, so they won't realise she's taking him home.
- Lots of time is spent describing childhood games, showing their innocence and youth.
-Gradually the innocence starts to fade away.…read more

Page 8

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-Scout doesn't like school.
Miss Caroline Fisher tells her off for being able to read and write.
Miss Gates doesn't see how Hitler's persecution of the Jew is similar to blacks treatment
whereas Scout can
Tries to get off school by swearing to make out school is a bad influence.
Atticus sends her anyway as she has to obey the rules.
-Scout and Jem learn a lot from their father.
Atticus teaches Scout to fight with her head not her fists.…read more

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Aunt Alexandra changes too. Originally she was against Atticus defending Tom but when
he loses she seems genuinely sorry for Tom Robinson.
Family and Social Class
-It's very important in Maycomb, which family you belong to
-It's impossible to escape your family background.
-Some people don't fit into their family.
Innocence and Bravery
-The children are innocent at the start of the story.
-Tom Robinson is an innocent man.…read more


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