How would you characterize Miss Maudie and other characters in To Kill a Mockingbird?I am trying to say that through characterization, Lee demonstrates moral education and influence Jem and Scout's...

How would you characterize Miss Maudie and other characters in To Kill a Mockingbird?

I am trying to say that through characterization, Lee demonstrates moral education and influence Jem and Scout's values. We know that Atticus represents good, and Bob evil, but how about the rest?

Asked on by wendy0

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missy575's profile pic

missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

To me, it seems you are trying to write an essay that may have 3 body paragraphs, one about Atticus, one about Bob, and you're considering Miss Maudie for the 3rd, but are open to other characters.

If you are looking for someone exactly in the middle of good and evil, you should use Boo who by all evidence appears evil, but by the end, Scout sees and learns that he is indeed good. And this is a learning experience for her as she experiences him saving her brother, and stands on the porch looking through his eyes or perspective. This way you could take Atticus' notions about walking in someone's shoes, or walking around in someone's skin and work that throughout your paragraphs from two different vantage points: Atticus' instruction, and Scout's experience of this moral value (through Boo).

Another idea I have for you is to take Maudie's ability to education those children morally as an entire paragraph. She used the cakes to entice them to dialogue with her about the value of what their father said and who he was. She used simple gesture at the Missionary Tea to help Scout know not to say anything bad. Through example, she endured the loss of her house. She held her head up and kept going. She didn't let it get her down. She says really neat things about Atticus that allude to the fact that Atticus does the right thing while the rest of us pretend to. She slams the religion of some as ritual wherein it should be experience. This is a tremendous lesson to the kids because anything worth doing is worth doing right.

I hope reading between the lines of your request actually hit a little of what you were looking for.

bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Luckily, author Harper Lee has drawn some realistic characterizations in her novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, so there are not many that are decidedly one-dimensional. Bob Ewell has few, if any, positive aspects; he definitely embodies the evil nature of men in the novel. Atticus is found to have few negative values; it would be hard to find a character in literature who tries so hard to be a perfect man. Other characters not previously mentioned:

DOLPHUS RAYMOND. He represents racial tolerance--a white man who chooses to live with Negroes despite the scorn it brings him from the white citizens of Maycomb.
LINK DEAS.  He is an honest, business owner who treats Tom and his wife, Helen, fairly and with sympathy. He represents white tolerance of the Maycomb common man.
MRS. DUBOSE.  She represents the past--a dying breed left over from the post-Civil War days.
AUNT ALEXANDRA.  She represents the supposed upper-crust of Maycomb society.

mkcapen1's profile pic

mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

In the book To Kill a Mockingbird we have a well rounded cast of characters to represent different things.  Ms. Maudie is representative of the side of good.  She tellsthe children that Boo Radley had been a happy sweet child once and paints a picture of him as a person and not a boogie man like the others in the town.  She continues her friendship with Atticus and the children and does not allow the behavior of the majority influence her.

Calpurnia is also good.  She is the maternal figure.  She takes the children to her church, teaches them life lessons that they need to learn, and does more than a housekeeper and cook.  She also helps Atticus to understand why his actions have been so important to the people in the colored community.

Mr. Cunningham is neither good nor evil..  He is the ordinary man who can easily be swayed due to ignorance and influence.  When he becomes part of the mob, it is his social upbringing and attitudes from the past that have influenced him.  He has yet to realize how deeply hatred is rooted.  He is reacting out of fear and anger, tow things that motivated hatred and race problems and still do to this day.

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