During the Chapters 1 -15 we learn a lot about Maycomb society especially since the novel is set in the 1930s and during the great depression. A couple of the points are: the rich rejecting the poor because of their economic level of life in the Great Depression and whites discriminating against blacks. During the Great Depression Maycomb would have been hit hard, “Maycomb was an old town, but was a tired old town”. This is Scout talking and when she was young Maycomb was a rundown old town. Then she says, “when I first knew it”.
This implies that Maycomb has changed since when Scout was a child. The court-house sagged in the square… ” A court-house is normally the centre of these small towns but as its “sagged” this shows that everyone was rather boring and “… grass grew on the sidewalks… ” this shows that no one really cared about their town. The Great Depression affected the businesses in Maycomb, “There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with”. The days would go very slowly with nothing to do and doing the same thing everyday.
The Great Depression caused the poor to become poorer while the rich were not affected as much. Some of the rich, such as Aunt Alexandra, misunderstood people because of their economic life. Her different point of view is clearly displayed when she rejects Walter Cunningham, by saying, “… they’re good folks. But they’re not our kind of folks”. Aunt Alexandra, believing that the Cunninghams are beneath the Finches’ economic level, ignores Scout’s aspect of friendship toward Walter disliking him “because-he-is-trash”.
She is regardless of the Cunninghams’ hard work to pay back Atticus in “the only way they could”. Maycomb is known for its racist atmosphere where blacks are lower than the whites. However, not all of the white community discriminated black. For example, Atticus stands up for Tom Robinson regardless of Mrs. Dubose’s hurtful words saying Atticus is “no better than the niggers and trash he works for”. It is obvious that Atticus is one of the most reliable and honourable citizens of Maycomb. Mrs. Dubose’s words clearly hurt Calpurnia’s feelings.
An example of this racial prejudice is found Scout’s words saying that “Tom is just a Negro”. Scout’s words are evidences to the unsafe society for kids to develop. Another example is found while Aunt Alexandra is convincing Atticus to dismiss Calpurnia, although Atticus tells her that “Calpurnia’s not leaving this house until she wants to”. This quote explains how Atticus is regardless of peoples’ race and totally the opposite of Aunt Alexandra. Aunt Alexandra wants a better female role model for Scout, believing that Calpurnia is not a good one because she is black.