In Chapter Five of To Kill a Mockingbird, what is Miss Maudie's philosophy?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Miss Maudie's philosophy is to enjoy life and not be judgmental of others.

Miss Maudie is Scout’s neighbor.  She is very laid-back, for an adult.  She allows Scout and Jem almost free reign to play in her yard.

Our tacit treaty with Miss Maudie was that we could play on her lawn, eat her scuppernongs if we didn’t jump on the arbor, and explore her vast back lot, terms so generous we seldom spoke to her, so careful were we to preserve the delicate balance of our relationship … (Ch. 5)

As Scout gets older, she gets to know Miss Maudie better.  Jem has Dill to play with, but that often leaves Scout the odd one out.  She is drawn to another woman, and starts to spend more time with Miss Maudie.

Miss Maudie is a gardener.  She loves all plants, including some weeds.  She hates nut grass, however, saying “one sprig of nut grass can ruin a whole yard.”  When Scout asks Miss Maudie whether or not Boo Radley is still alive, she says he must be because she has not seen him carried out yet.

Miss Maudie explains to Scout that the foot-washing Baptists consider her sinful because of her pretty flowers, and because she’s a woman and they take the Bible literally.

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. (Ch. 5)

Miss Maudie is one of the most level-headed people in Maycomb.  She treats the children respectfully, unlike other adults in their orbit.  Even though she is grown-up, to Scout, Jem, and Dill she is also a friend.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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