Social Class Inequality in To Kill a Mockingbird

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  • Maycomb County
  • A person's access to healthcare, education, and jobs are predicated, at least in part, by who your parents are, how much money you have, or where you live. Even basic rights such as access to justice are not the same for everybody, as rich people can afford better lawyers. The people of Maycomb's social classes greatly reflect this statement. The social class inequality presented in the story is very prominent. Capitalism is an economic system where the majority of employment and industry is managed for profit individuals and corporations for their sole benefit, with the exception of taxes, thus doing so at the working classes expense.
  • At the top of the social class pyramid in Maycomb, are people like Mr. Raymond. In the book Jem states that he's from an old family and owns one side of the river bank (p.161), stating to the reader that his family is very wealthy and have owned that property for awhile.
  • On the next level of the social class pyramid are families like the Finches. They are not that well off, but because Atticus is a caucasian lawyer and is well educated it increases their social status in Maycomb. As stated on page five, Atticus made a reasonable income from the law. People in this social class are respected by most.
  • As a lower class in Maycomb, you have the Cunninghams. They are what the town considers a respectable poor. They never take anything they cannot repay in someway and Mr. Cunningham works hard on the farm to provide for the family. The Cunningham's are poor but still go to school and make an effort and because of this, people respect them even though they have no money.
  • The outcasts of the town are the Ewell family. They have no money, the children do not go to school (except for the first day), and Bob Ewell hunts and traps out of season. The town has become blind to the Ewells activities as they have very little respect. (p.30)
  • With even less respect than the Ewells are people with colour or the "blacks". Regardless of their income the black people do not get respect from anyone, even the Ewells. Maycomb County was very racist and did not consider people of colour as human.
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