How has Miss Maudie shown courage during To Kill a Mockingbird?

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cldbentley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Harper Lee's famous novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, there are many characters who possess spiritual courage.  Miss Maudie Atkinson is certainly a brave woman, even when being faced with extremely difficult circumstances.

Probably the most obvious display of Miss Maudie's courage takes place when her home burns down during an extreme cold spell.  Despite the fact the has just lost almost everything, Miss Maudie does not complain; instead, she insists that she's happy the house is gone.

"...Always wanted a smaller house, Jem Finch.  Give me more yard.  Just think, I'll have more room for my azaleas now!...Why, I hated that old cow barn.  Thought of settin' fire to it a hundred times myself, except they'd lock me up...Don't you worry about me, Jean Louise Finch.  There are ways of doing things you don't know about.  Why, I'll build me a little house and take me a couple of rooms and--gracious, I'll have the finest yard in Alabama.  Those Bellingraths'll look plain puny when I get started!"

Miss Maudie is generally courageous in her approach to most social and moral issues.  Her refusal to celebrate the trial of Tom Robinson with her neighbors is a form of rebellion, which is brave, considering the opinions of those around her (also defends Boo Radley).  Miss Maudie even cheerfully quotes Bible verses back at a wagon load of people who accuse her of vanity.


gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Miss Maudie displays courage in the face of adversity several times throughout the novel. Miss Maudie initially demonstrates her courage by challenging the foot-washing Baptists who view her gardening with contempt. Miss Maudie does not back down when they condemn her and continues to work in her garden. Miss Maudie also demonstrates her courage after her home burns down. She does not pity herself and remains positive after the tragic event. Miss Maudie also reveals her courage by defending Atticus during Aunt Alexandra's missionary circle. Miss Maudie does not share the prejudiced views of the other women and subtly rebukes Mrs. Merriweather for indirectly criticizing Atticus. Miss Maudie also demonstrates courage by controlling her emotions after Atticus shares the news of Tom's death. Maudie composes herself and encourages Aunt Alexandra to settle down before they enter the living room. 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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