How does Miss Maudie have a positive relationship with the kids in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 5, Scout explains how Miss Maudie lets the children play in the yard with minor restrictions. She also notes how Miss Maudie would always make cakes for the children. And when Dill and Jem are off together, excluding her, Scout spends more time with Miss Maudie: 

In summertime, twilights are long and peaceful. Often as not, Miss Maudie and I would sit silently on her porch, watching the sky go from yellow to pink as the sun went down, watching flights of martins sweep low over the neighborhood and disappear behind the schoolhouse rooftops. (Chapter 5) 

In Chapter 8, while Miss Maudie's house is on fire, Scout notes how amazed she is that Miss Maudie pays attention to their lives, even at such a troubling time: 

Miss Maudie puzzled me. With most of her possessions gone and her beloved yard a shambles, she still took a lively and cordial interest in Jem’s and my affairs. (Chapter 8) 

In Chapter 22, Jem is frustrated and angry that Tom has been convicted. Miss Maudie takes the time to console him by explaining that although this was a loss, it was a small step towards progress: 

"I waited and waited to see you all come down the sidewalk, and as I waited I thought, Atticus Finch won’t win, he can’t win, but he’s the only man in these parts who can keep a jury out so long in a case like that. And I thought to myself, well, we’re making a step—it’s just a babystep, but it’s a step.” (Chapter 22) 

This is one of the times that Miss Maudie sounds like Atticus. She imparts wisdom and gives the children legitimate truth. Like Atticus does, she treats them like adults in a sense. She doesn't talk down to them. This way of behaving with the children endears them to her. They consider her a friend as much as a trusted adult. 

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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