I'm writing an essay on the qualities of a good leader in To Kill a Mockingbird and am using Miss Maudie as my model. I need some examples...... that illustrate her leadership qualities. The...

I'm writing an essay on the qualities of a good leader in To Kill a Mockingbird and am using Miss Maudie as my model. I need some examples...

... that illustrate her leadership qualities. The audience is an interested adult. (From Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.)

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Perhaps you may wish to first consider what qualities Miss Maudie has that are those of a leader, and then you can open your essay with a definition that befits your model character.  Following this motivator, you can then write your thesis which will state that Miss Maudie exemplifies the qualities of a leader .....(Here you state at least three reasons that you will support with details from the novel).  Here are her more sterling qualities:

Miss Maudie as a leader - individualism

Since a good leader is a strong individual who thinks for him/herself. 

Miss Maudie displays individualism on several occasions.  For instance, when the fundamentalists ridicule her, she is undaunted and declares her beliefs. Never is she afraid to express her disapproval of acts of injustice. When other disparage the Radleys, she tells the children that they have a right to live their lives as they feel they should; likewise, she defends Atticus's dislike for guns and his not having told the children that he once was known for his expertise with a gun.

When public opinion is against Atticus, Miss Maudie defends him. At the Missionary Tea, as Mrs. Merriweather disparages the "misguided folks" among whom she counts Atticus Finch, Miss Maudie, whose "grey eyes were as cold as her voice," catches her in her hypocrisy of demeaning blacks, but allowing one to cook for them.  For, she quietly asks Mrs. Merriweather if Mr. Merriweather does not have trouble getting this food down.

Miss Maudie as leader - integrity

A woman who lives an exemplary life, Miss Maudie is strong and does not cry about her house which is destroyed by fire.  She cheerily tells the children that she never liked it much, anyway.

Whenever she talks with Jem and Scout, she credits honor in others and is forthright herself, affording the children the opportunity to question things.  For example, she explains to them that their father is an honorable man who has had to "our unpleasant jobs for us."  When they question some of his actions in the trial, Miss Maudie tells them that they will have to address their questions to him.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Miss Maudie Atkinson may not be the first character you think of in To Kill a Mockingbird when it comes to leadership qualities, but there is no doubt that she is an intelligent, independent woman. Women still did not have equal rights with men in Alabama during the 1930s--Maudie was not eligible to serve on the jury--but she had the self-confidence to lead the life of a single woman after the death of her husband. The Finch children gravitated toward Maudie, and Scout happily followed her as she did her chores and gardening. Maudie refused to lower herself to the gossipy status of her neighbors, Miss Stephanie and Miss Rachel, and she mostly reserved her often "crisp" speech and "acid tongue" for positive observations about Atticus, Boo and Jack Finch. Maudie made it a point to talk with Jem and Scout following Tom Robinson's trial, encouraging them that Atticus still had great support in the community despite the jury's guilty verdict.

Perhaps the best example of her leadership quality came on the afternoon of the missionary circle tea. After Mrs. Merriweather made a cutting remark against Atticus, Maudie called her out. Then, after learning of Tom Robinson's death, Maudie gathered herself together and "commanded" Aunt Alexandra to "stop that shaking." Maudie asked Scout if she was OK, and Scout replied, "Yes ma'am." Maudie led them back to the diningroom, where they resumed serving refreshments as if nothing had happened.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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