What Views of Education Does Harper Lee Present in Chapters 1-3 of the Novel?

Education is a major point in TKAM. In Maycomb County education is very backward and unchanged due to its placing in Alabama being far away from any other towns or cities. It has remained the same, which means that teaching methods have basically been similar for many generations. The theme of education goes throughout the book. Harper Lee is very keen on showing this in the opening chapters of TKAM. She ensures we get a clear picture of what people think about education and how it is used in the town of Maycomb. I think she might be using this as a way to show how she thinks education systems in her time were flawed. She displays the education system as quite contradictory and narrow-minded, teaching children to grow-up hypocritical and close-minded.

In chapter 1 we see already how Harper knows that education is very important when she is describing Atticus Finch’ job and a case he had when she says,
“Atticus had urged them to accept state’s generosity in allowing them to plead guilty to second-degree murder and escape with their lives, but they were Haverford’s, in Maycomb County a name synonymous with jackass. The Haverford’s had dispatched Maycomb’s leading blacksmith… and were imprudent enough to do it in the presence of 3 witnesses…”

Here we get a small sense of what education is like in Maycomb, as the Haverford’s are presented as uneducated fools by use of the word ‘imprudent’ and the phrase ‘a name synonymous with jackass’. It seems as if the Haverford’s being uneducated result in their death, as they made a bad decision instead of going with the smarter one.

For the rest of the chapter we more see the description of the Finch family’s history and education but not many more examples of being uneducated. It seems as if the Finch family was very much a family of agriculture before Atticus Finch and his siblings, but were nonetheless quite successful. We see this when Scout is describing her family history

“Simon lived to an impressive...