How about a character sketch of Miss Maudie Atkinson in Chapters 4, 5, and 6 in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Although Miss Maudie Atkinson is considered a minor character in To Kill a Mockingbird, I believe her to be a central figure in this novel.  She is such a strong and supportive character!  Living across the street from Jem and Scout, Miss  Maudie is free from the burden of prejudice and no stranger to the joy of children.  The Finch children enjoy the company of Miss  Maudie as well because she tells them all about Atticus' adventures as a child.  Miss Maudie absolutely never talks down to either Scout or Jem and, as a result, earns their ultimate respect.  Quite simply, Miss Maudie tells it like it is with very little frills involved.  What a great way to talk to kids in order to help them understand!

It would be a mistake to sketch Miss Maudie as a character without mentioning her profound connection to the title of the novel.  Therefore, in addition to her other wise comments, the following quote must be taken to heart:

That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it.

Your father's right," she said.  "Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy.  They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us.  That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." (Lee 90)

Readers should also recognize Miss Maudie's respect to the Christian community as well as her bravery.  It isn't just the Finches who respect this wise lady.  Just look at how Miss Maudie responds when she loses her home due to fire.  Instead of lamenting her loss, Miss Maudie uses Miss Maudie uses the situation to rejoice in building a new home with more gardening room.  Of course, Miss Maudie's passion for justice (similar to Atticus') puts the final touch on the great bravery of this "minor" character.

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