How are Miss Stephanie Crawford and Miss Rachel Haverford judgemental and condescending to the children in To Kill a Mockingbird? Give examples.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Compared with Miss Maudie, who Jem and Scout consider a valuable friend, Miss Stephanie and Miss Rachel do seem to talk down to the children more than their other female neighbors. Miss Stephanie was Maycomb's queen of gossip, but

... no one with a grain of sense trusted Miss Stephanie.

On several occasions, Stephanie doesn't even acknowledge the children's presence with a greeting; instead, she "looked around at us and went on talking." Another time she talked with Aunt Alexandra about Jem while he was standing right in front of her. Stephanie made a joke at Scout's expense during the Missionary Circle tea, and when she got a laugh from the other ladies, she "was encouraged to pursue the subject." After Scout's answer, Stephanie "eyed me suspiciously."

After Dill had run away from home, his Aunt Rachel threatened him and told him "That's all the Harris in you coming out." When Dill asks her how babies are born, she told him condescendingly that

"God drops 'em down the chimney."

Aunt Rachel pays little attention to what Dill says; in Chapter 22, he "told her till I was blue in the face" that he was going to the courthouse with Jem and Scout, but Rachel "was up half the night wonderin' where I was."

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial