Homework Help

Why is Mrs. Merriweather a hypocrite in To Kill a Mockingbird?

user profile pic

rlee14 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 23, 2010 at 12:57 PM via web

dislike 3 like

Why is Mrs. Merriweather a hypocrite in To Kill a Mockingbird?

2 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

lynnebh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted August 23, 2010 at 10:38 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 2 like

You can read about Mrs. Grace Merriweather in chapter 24 when Aunt Alexandra has her missionary women for tea. Mrs. Merriweather is a hypocrite because she is going on and on about being a good Christian and practicing good Christian values when she herself is a stereotypical bigot. She tells Scout all about the missionary work of J. Grimes Everett among the Africans, and yet when it comes to the Blacks in their own community of Maycomb, she complains that the "Darkies" are grumbling over what happened at Tom Robinson's trial. She says that there is nothing worse than a grumbling "Darkie". Her attitude, even towards the Africans, is a patronizing one. She tells the women that if the Blacks in Maycomb just will realize that "we forgive them" then the whole thing will blow over. She treats the Blacks in Maycomb as if they were still slaves.

It is ironic that her first name is "Grace" because she does not understand the concept of grace according to the Bible.

user profile pic

mlsldy3 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted April 19, 2015 at 6:05 PM (Answer #2)

dislike 1 like

Scout is spending the afternoon with Aunt Alexandra while Jem is teaching Dill how to swim. Scout considers being with Aunt Alexandra being a lady, so she spends the afternoon with the church ladies that have come over. Scout helps Cal bring the dishes out, but Aunt Alexandra asks Scout to stay with them. Scout listens as the ladies talk and gossip about the town. When Mrs. Merriweather starts talking about how one must forgive and forget, Scout thinks at first she is talking Mayella Ewell, but she soon finds out she is talking about Helen Robinson.

Mrs. Merriweather turned back to her neighbor. "There's one thing I truly believe, Gertrude," she continued, "but some people just don't see it my way. If we just let them know we forgive 'em, that we've forgotten it, then this whole thing'll blow over."

Everyone thinks that Mrs. Merriweather is a wonderful Christian woman, but in all reality she is a nasty judgmental woman. What Mrs. Merriweather is saying is that the women should tell Helen Robinson that the town forgives and forgets what Tom supposedly did. She is a narrow-minded woman and someone needs to put her in her place, and Scout is just the person to do it.

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes