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Miss Maudie Atkinson treats Jem and Scout with respect and doesn't condescend toward them as many other adults do. Scout feels comfortable sitting in silence with Miss Maudie on her porch on the summer evenings, and she loves the cake that her neighbor bakes for them. Scout likes the "two minute gold prongs" that are attached to Miss Maudie's eyeteeth, and she appreciates the "cordiality" which,
... with a click of her tongue she thrust out her bridgework...
Scout admires Maudie's "crisp" speech and her sense of humor, especially in the clever conversations she has with her Uncle Jack. But most of all, Scout knows she can trust Maudie.
She 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.
Miss Maudie has a deal with the kids. If the kids keep out of her azaleas, they can play on her lawn and explore the vast lot in the back. They can also eat her scuppernongs if they don't bother her best plants, and she makes them cakes! Every time she makes a cake, she is nice enough to make three little ones for Scout, Jem and Dill. Scout's mother died when she was two, so the only motherly role models in her life are Calpurnia, their black cook, and Miss Maudie. Scout grows closer to Miss Maudie as Jem and Dill grow in their own male friendship. Scout starts having deeper discussions about life, Boo Radley, and foot-washing Baptists in chapter five. She even tells Miss Maudie, "You're the best lady I know" (45). Scout also explains that she and Jem have "considerable faith" in her because she never snitches on them or chases them out of her yard, and she isn't interested in their private affairs. "She was our friend," Scout says (45). Scout also grows closer to Miss Maudie as she feels a little bit ostracized by the boys, so she likes her because she has someone to go to when she feels lonely.
In To Kill A Mockingbird, Jem and Scout are being brought up by their father Atticus, having lost their mother when Scout was too small to remember. Scout, as something of a tomboy, plays with Jem but he does find her irritating sometimes and, during the summer break, Miss Maudie becomes an important part of Scout's development, especially as Jem often prefers Dill's company; the boys only summon Scout when they need her. Scout also recognizes that some of the boys' schemes are "foolhardy" and, as young as she is, maintains her distance sometimes, preferring to spend her time sitting with Miss Maudie on her front porch. Previously, Miss Maudie had been just another "benign presence," but now Scout appreciates her uncomplicated attitude and style and, as long as the children stay out of Miss Maudie's azaleas, they are always welcome. Scout finds support in this environment and secure kowing that she can ask questions and receive honest answers.
It is apparent that many of the residents in Maycomb County are fussy and contradictory in their actions. Scout must learn never to judge them or face her father's disappointment because Atticus has taught his children tolerance and insists that they respect other people's opinions because you cannot understand a person "until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." With Miss Maudie, Scout can be herself, knowing that Miss Maudie respects her and simply expects the children to take care around her prized flowers, thus preserving "the delicate balance of our relationship."
Scout appreciates Miss Maudie's lack of pretentiousness and her manner of dealing with reality, being "crisp" in her speech; in other words, making herself clearly understood and being sincere. Scout and Miss Maudie "cement" their friendship with a display of Miss Maudie's bridgework on her teeth, and Scout, Jem and Dill also enjoy the cakes she bakes, especially as she makes a particular effort on their behalf. Scout has "considerable faith in Miss Maudie" because, although she does not spend her time, like Miss Stephanie Crawford, "going about the neighborhood doing good," she has qualities that most other adults lack and Scout can call her her "friend."
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