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How Harper Lee Describes the Town of Maycomb.

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Submitted By ellie289
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‘How Harper Lee describes the town of Maycomb.’

The first time Harper Lee mention Maycomb, she creates a very unpleasant atmosphere, it’s a very unwelcoming and quite secretive as well. Harper Lee uses the method of personification in the first sentence when she says ‘it was a tired old town’. It makes us picture the town as an old man withering away over time. She also uses personification when introducing the courthouse, saying ‘it sagged in the square’ this also puts the image in our heads of a sad elderly who is not strong enough to live on for much longer. When she talks about Maycomb she talks in the past, she says ‘tired old town when I first knew it’ which makes us assume that Maycomb has changed for the better from when she was writing about it.
We sense that Maycomb is badly looked after and that the citizens don’t care for it. ‘In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop’ we get the feeling that Maycomb would be a nicer place to live in if it was better looked after. The mood in Maycomb isn’t very bright either. ‘Nowhere to go…nothing to buy…nothing to see outside.’ We feel that Maycomb isn’t a very interesting place to live especially for children among the age of Scout because they had to entertain themselves, as there was nothing that Maycomb provided.
Harper Lee writes in a way where we can tell what time period she is writing in. ‘Bony mules hitched to Hoover carts’ tells us that she is not writing in the modern times but in the past. She also tells us this by using a simile that refers to women as ‘soft teacakes’ as it implies that women in those days were very delicate and fragile and easily crushed and walk on whereas the men ‘men’s stiff collars’ seem strong and powerful. This proves that this was written in a time where women weren’t seen as equals to men but a lower class than them.
The passage that Harper Lee writes about Maycomb is set on a sweltering hot day, which gives off that the atmosphere is very sticky. However she manages to make it seem like quite a gentle heat in one line, ‘frostings of sweat’ this is a very feminine way to describe the heat as is makes it seem like a gentle hint of sweat.
She uses a metaphor to describe the heat ‘a black dog suffered on a summer’s day’, which may refer to the racial aspect of the book, meaning black people suffer with living among the white people who don’t respect them or accept them.
Harper lee uses very interesting to set the mood in this passage as well, such as ‘wilted’. She uses this to describe the men’s collars by nine in the morning. She is telling us that despite how crisp and stiff these collars are they will always be weakened. This may be referring to the way the people of Maycomb live their lives. They may get up every morning positively thinking but by nine o’clock they have all weakened to the fact that Maycomb will never chance and become a better county. This implies that the mood in Maycomb is never very upbeat but rather damp and dreary. She also uses the word ‘ambled’ this gives us the impression that the citizens of Maycomb have no sense of purpose to do anything quickly because there is nothing else to do and so they are just spreading out everything they do to try and use up their time.
Throughout this paragraph Harper Lee has uses the continuous atmosphere of a boring, dull county,’ the day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer’, this really proves to us that there is nothing in Maycomb to fill the time with.
In this passage Harper lee definitely succeeds in portraying Maycomb as a boring place to live, where the people don't look after it and don’t enjoy living there.…...

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