In Chapter 5 of To Kill a Mockingbird, are there any literary elements in the scene with Miss Maudie talking to Scout?When I say literary elements, I mean things like conflict, mood, point of...

In Chapter 5 of To Kill a Mockingbird, are there any literary elements in the scene with Miss Maudie talking to Scout?

When I say literary elements, I mean things like conflict, mood, point of view, setting, symbolism, theme, personification, onomatopoeia, simile, metaphor, and allusion.  Thank you!

Asked on by mackeyjo20

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missy575's profile pic

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

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Scout's encounter with Miss Maudie in chapter 5 certainly includes characterization to begin. She is cast as having "delicate balance" in terms of relationship with Jem and Scout, gardening with a passion, and having a "clearly defined" generosity to the kids about her space so long as they followed her rules.

She is quite serious about the elimination of weeds and the author shows this through Scout's narration which includes a simile:

If she found a blade of nut grass in her yard it was like the Second Battle of the Marne: she swooped down upon it with a tin tub and subjected it to blasts from beneath with a poisonous substance she said was so powerful it’d kill us all if we didn’t stand out of the way.

Did you notice that there was an allusion inside that simile?

As Scout was surprised by such enthusiasm, she asked Maudie why she approached the problem that way. Maudie's actions then demonstrate vivid imagery:

"She picked up the limp sprout and squeezed her thumb up its tiny stalk. Microscopic grains oozed out."

As you continue reading the chapter, you will see for yourself that the simile is used abundantly.

ajmchugh's profile pic

ajmchugh | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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I'll address one literary device that's very important in Chapter 5.  Primarily, Miss Maudie and Scout discuss the Radley family, Atticus, and Miss Stephanie Crawford.  Through this conversation, and through Scout's narration, we learn a great deal about Miss Maudie. 

Characterization is the method an author uses to create well-developed characters.  We learn about characters based on what they say, what they do, and what others say about them.

In Chapter 5,  Scout describes Miss Maudie as a lover of the outdoors and "everything that grew in God's earth," as a "reasonable" woman, and as a friend to the Scout, Jem, and Dill:

Jem and I had considerable faith in Miss Maudie.  She had never told on us, had never played cat-and-mouse with us, she was not at all interested in our private lives.  She was our friend. 

Further, Miss Maudie's explanation of the Radley family and their ways parallels what Atticus tells the children throughout the novel; she describes the Radley house as "a sad house" and recalls Arthur (Boo) Radley as being a polite young boy. 

So, through Miss Maudie's words (indirect characterization) and through Scout's descriptions of her (direct characterization), we learn a great deal about her character. 

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