In “To Kill a Mockingbird” what is maycomb’s “usual disease”?

Updated 21 March, 2023
In "To Kill a Mockingbird," Maycomb's "usual disease" is racism. The novel is set in the 1930s in a fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, and explores the social and racial tensions of the time. The town is deeply divided along racial lines, and the majority of white people hold racist views towards the black community. This is reflected in the trial of Tom Robinson, a black man accused of rape, where the white community refuses to believe his innocence and ultimately condemns him to death. The novel portrays Maycomb's disease of racism as a destructive force that undermines the town's moral integrity and human decency.
Detailed answer:

In "To Kill a Mockingbird," Maycomb's "usual disease" is racism and prejudice. Harper Lee uses Maycomb, a fictional town in Alabama, to illustrate the pervasive racism that existed in the American South during the 1930s. Atticus Finch, the moral compass of the novel, warns his children about the dangers of this "disease" and encourages them to challenge it.

In the novel, Scout Finch describes Maycomb as "a tired old town" where "nothing exciting ever happens." However, beneath the surface of the town lies a deep-seated racism that affects the lives of everyone in the community. The novel is set during the Great Depression, and many of the townspeople blame their economic struggles on the African American population.

One of the most vivid examples of the "usual disease" is the trial of Tom Robinson, a black man who is falsely accused of raping a white woman. Despite overwhelming evidence of Tom's innocence, the all-white jury finds him guilty because of their deeply ingrained racial prejudices. Atticus, who defends Tom, knows that he is fighting a losing battle but insists on doing the right thing anyway.

Another example is the way in which Maycomb's white citizens treat Boo Radley, a reclusive neighbor who is rumored to be mentally unstable. The children in the novel are fascinated by Boo and create elaborate stories about him. However, the adults in the town are quick to label Boo as a "crazy" and "dangerous" person without ever getting to know him. This attitude of fear and suspicion toward anyone who is different is another symptom of Maycomb's "usual disease."

Overall, Maycomb's "usual disease" is a pervasive and insidious form of racism that affects every aspect of the town's culture. Through her portrayal of Maycomb, Harper Lee shows how racism can be passed down from generation to generation and how difficult it is to eradicate once it has taken hold.

Do you have any other questions?
Question has been sent. We'll take a look at it in 1 day Ask another question

Where do you want us to send this sample?

    By clicking “Continue”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.


    Be careful. This essay is not unique

    This essay was donated by a student and is likely to have been used and submitted before

    Download this Sample

    Free samples may contain mistakes and not unique parts


    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.



    Please check your inbox.

    We can write you a custom essay that will follow your exact instructions and meet the deadlines. Let's fix your grades together!

    We can help you get a better grade and deliver your task on time!
    • Instructions Followed To The Letter
    • Deadlines Met At Every Stage
    • Unique And Plagiarism Free
    Order your paper now