In Chapter 24 of To Kill a Mockingbird, why does Miss Maudie get so angry with Mrs. Merriweather?In the light purple paperback books this happens on page 233.

Expert Answers
gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 24, Aunt Alexandra hosts a missionary circle and invites the local ladies to Atticus's home to discuss J. Grimes Everett's work in Africa and the current events in Maycomb. After Scout brings refreshments into the living room, she listens to Mrs. Merriweather discuss the negative attitude of her black housemaids. Mrs. Merriweather then indirectly criticizes Atticus by discussing the "good but misguided people" in town that thought they were doing the right thing by supporting the black citizens. Mrs. Merriweather is a hypocritical and racist woman, who believes that Atticus simply created a problem by defending Tom Robinson. After Mrs. Merriweather indirectly criticizes Atticus, Miss Maudie defends him by asking Mrs. Merriweather,

His food doesn’t stick going down, does it? (Lee, 237).

Miss Maudie supports Atticus's defense of Tom Robinson and completely disagrees with Mrs. Merriweather's assessment of Atticus's actions. Maudie is also upset with Mrs. Merriweather's blatant hypocrisy and negative comments, which is why she speaks up. Miss Maudie's subtle comment puts an end to Mrs. Merriweather's criticism of Atticus, and Scout notices Aunt Alexandra give her a look of appreciation.

dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Miss Maudie is completely fed up with Mrs. Merriweather's hypocrisy.

Mrs. Merriweather takes great pride in being considered "the most devout lady in Maycomb".  At the missionary circle meeting she has just finished lamenting the plight of the Mrunas in Africa, yet, in the same breath, she speaks of the "darkies" who live her own community, and serve in her own house, with callousness and disparagement.  She believes that Negroes, the "cooks and field hands", should know their place, and says that "there is nothing more distracting than a sulky darky".  When Mrs. Merriweather makes a snide reference to Atticus' defense of Tom Robinson, self-righteously concluding that "all (he) did was stir 'em up",  and complains about Sophie, her cook, declaring that the only reason she keeps her on is because "she needs her dollar and a quarter a week", Miss Maudie has had enough.  She points out that the Merriweathers have no trouble eating the food Sophie prepares for them, sharply retorting that Mr. Merriweather's "food doesn't stick going down, does it?" (Chapter 24).

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question