Describe Miss Maudie Atkinson in To Kill a Mockingbird.

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Miss Maudie Atkinson is an important character in the novel because of her friendship with Scout and Jem and because she represents values opposite those of other ladies like Aunt Alexandra and Miss Stephanie. Although Miss Maudie is of old heritage in Maycomb, she has “new” values and beliefs.  She is not racist and agrees with Atticus’ intentions to defend Tom Robinson to the best of his ability.  Miss Maudie is a little feisty and speaks up to other people in town, especially when they are spreading rumors (like Miss Stephanie spreads about Boo) or when making disparaging remarks about others. 

Miss Maudie is also very wise and pragmatic. She is to the point, something Scout especially likes because she can count on Miss Maudie to be truthful. Scout and Jem also learn a lot from Miss Maudie.  She convinces them that Atticus is not boring but has many talents like shooting a shotgun, and she explains why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.  When Miss Maudie’s house burns down during the freak snowfall that hits Maycomb, her “devil may care” attitude that she will build a smaller house with a bigger garden shows her optimistic spirit.  Miss Maudie doesn’t seem to take life too seriously unless she sees injustice or ignorance.  She is the moral female character in the novel and compliments Atticus’ wisdom and intentions well.