Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

To Map a Mockingbird

Maycomb is not on any map of the real world, but that doesn't mean it can't be mapped.

Modern classics don't come any more classic, or more modern, than To Kill a Mockingbird. Told from the naive perspective of a small girl, this tale of institutionalised racism in a small Southern town in the 1930s still resonates in today's America — and beyond. First published in 1960, it has sold over 40 million copies worldwide. In 2009, Mockingbird was voted "most inspirational book ever," beating the Bible into second place.  


The story is set in Maycomb, a fictionalised version of author Harper Lee's hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. Maycomb is not on any map of the real world, but that doesn't mean it can't be mapped. There are plenty of topographical clues in the book. Inspired perhaps by James Joyce's boast that “if Dublin suddenly disappeared from the earth, it could be reconstructed from my book (Ulyssessee also #518)," someone has taken those clues and reconstructed Maycomb as what it may have looked like in the writer's mind. 

And here are all those places so familiar to readers of the book, now all together in one map: the Finch house, hemmed in between the houses of Miss Stephanie Crawford and Miss Rachel Haverford. Next, the Radley place, backing out onto the schoolyard. Down the road, toward the town centre, the Maycomb County jail, flanked by Tyndal's hardware store and the offices of the Maycomb Tribune. On the other side of the town square, the Maycomb County Courthouse features prominently (as it does in the book). Across the railroad tracks — and on the wrong side of the tracks, socially speaking — are the church and the quarters of Maycomb's black residents. The map even marks off the outer limits of the area wherein the Finch children were allowed to play.

If you're not a literary purist, you could also reconstruct Maycomb from the movie version of To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), starring Gregory Peck as the saintly attorney Atticus Finch. Universal Studios considered shooting the movie in Monroeville, but the town had changed too much since the mid-1930s. So the studio created a "more authentic" version of Maycomb on its own lot. Location scouts found a collection of "Southern-looking" clapboard houses in L.A. in just the right state of disrepair. They were about to be demolished to make way for a freeway extension. Universal dismantled them just in time, rebuilding them on the studio lot.

The courthouse interiors used in the movie were a duplicate of those in the actual Monroe County Courthouse in Monroeville — now a museum dedicated to Mockingbird. In total, this movie version of Maycomb consisted of over 30 buildings — just a few less than on this map. The final fate of that fictional town is not known; in all likelihood, it was demolished after filming, perhaps a few buildings were recycled for later productions. If any bird's eye view survives, let me know. It would be nice to see how it compares to this "literary" map of Maycomb.

 

Map found here at the Mockingbird page of GGCA English.

 

Strange Maps #738 

Seen a strange map? Let me know at strangemaps@gmail.com.

Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

3 "symptoms" of atheism, as described by a Christian minister

Do you get worried or angry? Ever forget to tithe? One minister has bad news for you.

Painting by John Bridges via Wikimedia Commons
Culture & Religion
  • A recently published article claims to identify the symptoms of "low-level atheism."
  • Among these symptoms are worrying, cursing, and not tithing.
  • There is a solution to all of this though, not being an atheist. Sending in money is also involved.
Keep reading Show less

Why is everyone so selfish? Science explains

The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.

Credit: Adobe Stock, Olivier Le Moal.
Personal Growth
  • Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
  • New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
  • Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.
Keep reading Show less

How Hemingway felt about fatherhood

Parenting could be a distraction from what mattered most to him: his writing.

Ernest Hemingway Holding His Son 1927 (Wikimedia Commons)
Culture & Religion

Ernest Hemingway was affectionately called “Papa," but what kind of dad was he?

Keep reading Show less
Videos

The biology of aliens: How much do we know?

Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.

Scroll down to load more…
Quantcast