Miss Maudie tells Jem "things are never as bad as they seem". What reason does she give for this view?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 22, Miss Maudie invites the children over to have some cake and offers Jem some words of encouragement. While the children are eating, Miss Maudie notices that Jem is visibly upset with the outcome of the trial. Maudie attempts to console Jem by telling him,

"Don’t fret, Jem. Things are never as bad as they seem." (219)

She then proceeds to tell Jem that his father has an unpleasant job, and when the townspeople are called to be Christians, they have a special person like Atticus to represent them. Jem responds to Maudie's comment by saying that he wished the rest of the county felt the same way. Miss Maudie replies by saying, "You’d be surprised how many of us do" (219).

Miss Maudie then lists the numerous people who supported Atticus during the trial. She mentions that the entire black community supported Tom, as well as Sheriff Tate and Judge Taylor, who purposely appointed Atticus to defend Tom instead of Maxwell Green. Miss Maudie then tells Jem that while she was sitting on her porch during the trial, she reflected on how the community was making small progress. Maudie says, " . . . we’re making a step—it’s just a babystep, but it’s a step" (220). Despite the unfortunate outcome of the trial, Maudie is able to see the many positives concerning racial equality, which indicate that Maycomb is moving gradually in the right direction.  

tpisano eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Miss. Maudie tells Jem "things are never as bad as they seem" in Chapter 22 when Jem is  upset about the trial.

"His colored friends for one thing, and people like us. People like Judge Taylor. People like Mr. Heck Tate. Stop eating and start thinking, Jem. Did it ever strike you that Judge Taylor naming Atticus to defend that boy was no accident? That Judge Taylor might have had his reasons for naming him?".......

"You think about that," Miss Maudie was saying. "It was no accident. I was sittin' there on the porch last night, waiting. I waited and waited to see you all come down the sidewalk, and as I waited I thought, Atticus Finch won't win, he can't win, but he's the only man in these parts who can keep a jury out so long in a case like that. And I thought to myself, well, we're making a step-it's just a baby-step, but it's a step."

"That's something you'll have to take up with your father," Miss Maudie said.

Miss Maudie is explaining that there are a lot of good people in the world and that positive changes are occuring.  Judge Taylor appointed Atticus because he knew he could handle the job.  She says they are taking "baby steps" toward change.

maddym17 | Student

When refering to baby steps, she (Miss Maudie) also tells Jem not to focus on the bigger defeat, and to think about all the little positive steps that are being taken.  

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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