Atticus and Miss Maudie are good friends who hold each other in high esteem. As their characters develop in the novel, it isn’t hard to understand why they value and respect each other. Their friendship and mutual respect is the result of having similar traits in their characters and believing in the same moral principles.
Atticus and Maudie both have a strong sense of justice, and they stand up to injustice. Maudie is one of the few citizens in Maycomb who understand why Atticus must take Tom Robinson’s case and who support him when he defends Tom vigorously in court. She has enormous respect for Atticus and won’t tolerate hearing others criticize him in regard to helping Tom Robinson, as it becomes obvious when she chastises Mrs. Merriweather at the Missionary Circle meeting.
When presented with daunting circumstances and personal loss, neither Atticus nor Maudie shrinks from what must be done, nor does their courage fail. After the death of his wife, Atticus raises Jem and Scout by himself and works hard to do it right. He sometimes wonders if he is up to the task, but he continues to meet every parenting challenge that presents itself. After taking Tom Robinson’s case, Atticus tries to shield Jem and Scout from the ugliness it fosters in Maycomb. When his children do encounter racism and hatred, he helps them understand it so as not to be harmed by it. Like Atticus, Maudie confronts personal loss and difficult circumstances with courage and resolve. After her home burns to the ground during a rare snow storm in Maycomb, Maudie moves in with Stephanie Crawford, refuses to mourn the loss of her house and possessions, and makes plans to build a smaller home and plant even more flowers in her yard. Despite disaster, Maudie moves forward in life, as Atticus does, instead of choosing to live in the past and dwell on what has been lost.
In regard to their relationships with Jem and Scout, the similarities between Atticus and Maudie are numerous. As intelligent, sensitive, and perceptive people, both Atticus and Maudie understand Jem and Scout, love them, and enjoy their company. They don’t underestimate the children’s intelligence, talk down to them, evade their questions, or ignore their concerns. They treat Jem and Scout with affection and respect, never with condescension. Atticus and Maudie both expect Jem and Scout to behave, but their expectations are reasonable, and the children always know where they stand with Atticus and Maudie. Consequently, Jem and Scout love and trust both Atticus and Maudie.
Atticus and Miss Maudie share some other traits that are not necessarily common among the citizens of Maycomb. They mind their own business and don’t contribute to the town’s gossip. They both believe in God and have respect for religion, but are not religious zealots. They also are not religious hypocrites. Maudie and Atticus judge people by their character, not their race or Southern heritage, and both of them are excellent judges of character. Atticus and Maudie are good friends because they find in each other the moral principles and way of life they value.