In To Kill A Mockingbird, what did the children learn about Miss Maudie?

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mrshh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scout and Jem spent a lot of time with their neighbor, Miss Maudie, an older woman whose husband had died years before.  She had grown up with Atticus and Uncle Jack.  She lived alone in her house and loved gardening.  Scout spent the most time with Miss Maudie.

Miss Maudie was kind to Scout and Jem.  She treated them with respect and talked to them like they were adults instead of children.  She let them run through her yard without complaining.  They learned that Miss Maudie loved to be out in nature:

Miss Maudie hated her house: time spent indoors was time wasted.  She was a widow, a chameleon lady who worked in her flower beds in an old straw hat and men's coveralls, but after her five o’clock bath she would appear on the porch and reign over the street in magisterial beauty (To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 5).

Scout and Jem also learned that Miss Maudie did not care much about her house.  After it burned down in the fire, Jem and Scout visited Miss Maudie.  Jem told her how sorry he was about her house burning down and Scout asked Miss Maudie if she was grieving.  Miss Maudie was dismissive, which surprised Scout and Jem:

"Grieving, child?  Why, I hated that old cow barn.  Thought of settin' fire to it a hundred times myself, except they'd lock me up" (Chapter 8).

Despite having lost her home and possessions, Miss Maudie was still cheerful and friendly to the children.  She asked Scout about Boo Radley.  Then Scout discovered something about Miss Maudie:

Miss Maudie puzzled me.  With most of her possessions gone and her beloved yard a shambles, she still took a lively and cordial interest in Jem' and my affairs.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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