The town of Maycomb, Alabama, the setting for the novel, is typical of southern towns
in the 1930s. Its society reflects the strong class distinctions that were present in the Old South before the Civil War.
Whites and blacks did not socialize, but there were different levels within black and white society. At the top,
for example,were large landowners or educated professionals. he
The Finch family, for example, has connections to the land that go back more than
a hundred years. Then there are middle-class citizens, such as Sheriff Tate and Mr.Underwood, the editor of the newspaper.
Poor whites are represented by Scout’s classmate Walter Cunninghan and the Ewell family. Equally poor is Tom Robinson,
the farm worker who goes on trial. Yet another level of black society is represented by Calpurnia, the Finches’ maid,
who has more formal education than many others.
As you read, notice the social status of the characters. In particular, think about
whether Atticus Finch exhibits attitudes that are typical or atypical of members of his social class as they are portrayed
in the novel.