To Kill a Mockingbird

The Impact of Class Structure

The rigid class structure and social stratification of Maycomb County had a profound effect on the events in the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The impact of this class structure and the underlying prejudice was especially evident in the trial of Tom Robinson, a Maycomb black man. Because of the strict class system of Maycomb County and the extreme prejudice of the town, Tom Robinson was unjustly convicted of, and sentenced to death for, a crime he did not commit.

The society of Maycomb County had a definitive structure containing four classes. The first and upper class consisted of white collar Caucasians who were considered "rich" in the post-depression years. Characters who fit into this class were Atticus Finch, a wealthy, highly respected lawyer and citizen in town, and Judge Taylor, the justice of Maycomb County and presiding judge at the Robinson trial. Other characters who belonged to this upper class were Miss Maudie Attkinson, an open-minded, kind woman, and Miss Stephanie Crawford, the renowned gossip of the town.

The second class in Maycomb County included the blue collar, white workers, and primarily farmers who struggled to make ends meet. The Cunninghams, Dolphus Raymond, and the mysterious...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 741 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4437 literature essays, 1449 sample college application essays, 183 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in