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Unlike the rest of the town, Miss Maudie is not interested in the "spectacle" of the trial. People are coming out in huge crowds and groups to watch (in Miss Maudie's accurate prediction) "a poor devil on trial for his life."
Her reference to the Roman carnival here is not likely a gladiator-type reference, as many students have observed. The Roman carnival is described a celebration for the sake of celebrating, and it was chaotic. Miss Maudie here does not want to sink to the level of the rest of the town (and surrounding areas) and show a sudden interest in judicial matters simply with the expectation of chaos and entertainment, all at the expense of an actual person's life.
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