How typical is Miss Maudie compared to other Maycomb women in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Miss Maudie is very unique. She treats children with respect, and she enjoys taking care of her garden more than her house.

Miss Maudie is a neighbor and good friend of Scout and Jem. She does not mind having children in her yard, and is very generous. Scout finds that sitting with Miss Maudie on her porch helps her feel better when Dill and Jem are off by themselves doing boy things.

Jem and I had always enjoyed the free run of Miss Maudie’s yard if we kept out of her azaleas, but our contact with her was not clearly defined. Until Jem and Dill excluded me from their plans, she was only another lady in the neighborhood, but a relatively benign presence (Chapter 5). 

Scout likes Miss Maudie more than other adults because she is honest and doesn’t talk down to the kids. She is a neat lady. She stands up for herself and loves tending to her garden. Her reaction when her house catches fire is calm and almost nonchalant. The whole town shows up to help her, and her only comment is that she can have a smaller house with a bigger yard. 

When Scout feels picked on by the other ladies of the Missionary Society, Miss Maudie is quietly there for Scout. 

“Don’t you want to grow up to be a lawyer?”

Miss Maudie’s hand touched mine and I answered mildly enough, “Nome, just a lady.”

Miss Stephanie eyed me suspiciously, decided that I meant no impertinence, and contented herself with, “Well, you won’t get very far until you start wearing dresses more often.”

Miss Maudie’s hand closed tightly on mine, and I said nothing. Its warmth was enough (Chapter 24).

This is an example of how Miss Maudie is a supportive friend to Scout.  Throughout the book, she is always there for Scout.  She does not treat Scout like a child, make fun of her, or laugh at her when she doesn’t mean to be funny.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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