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The Influence of Setting in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

Decent Essays
To Kill a Mockingbird is a story about injustice, racism and the co-existence of good

and evil. These aspects are the result of plot development. In her novel, To Kill a

Mockingbird, Harper Lee uses setting to contribute to the development of the plot.

Lee develops Maycomb, Alabama to be an old and prejudiced town. In the exposition

of the novel, Jean Louise,(preferred to be called Scout) introduce Maycomb as a

town where “nothing exciting happens”, although, throughout the novel we see

many interesting situations which have directly impacted society and their views.

Scout presents this town by describing it as “There was no hurry, for there was no

where to go, nothing to buy, and no money to buy it with,
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When she tells Atticus what Cecil says, he responded that he is simply

defending a black man, and if he did not, he would not be able to hold his head up in

town. Atticus defending Tom Robinson makes many people create assumptions

about him, as well as call him a “nigger-lover.” This portrays how disrespectful

society are to accepting others, as well as demonstrating the theme of good and evil.

Harper Lee creates Maycomb to illustrate several themes in the novel.

The novel is set during the Great Depression in the 1930’s. During this time, many

people were very poor. This also affects Maycomb’s economy since no one had

money to purchase anything, this is also cause by the stock market crash. One day,

Scout asks Atticus if they were poor, and he replies “We are indeed”(Lee 27). Jem

questions if they were as poor as the Cunninghams, Atticus responds, “Not exactly,

the Cunninghams are country folks, farmers, the crash hit them the hardest”(Lee

27). He explains that professional people were poor because farmers are poor. The

whole society was affected since no one had money or resources. Harper Lee

demonstrates the diversity of society during the times of the depression. When Miss

Caroline could not understand why Walter Cunningham would not accept the

change, Scout explains “The Cunninghams never took anything they cannot pay

back- no church baskets and
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