What can you learn from the women of Maycomb about proper behavior and improper behavior?

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clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The best place to see this is in chapter 24 at the Missionary Society Tea.

This scene is brilliantly written.  It is a classic scene of upper-white-Christian-hypocrisy.

The main subject of the conversation is basically about black people in society not knowing their place.  The ladies talk on and on about being good Christians, and giving money for mission work in other countries, and not complaining, and other 'what-would-Jesus-do' stuff... but the core of the hypocrisy is in the underlying tone they all take that black people are not equal to white people.  To summarize the attitude: They have a place.  That place is beneathe us. And as a result of the trial they are getting all "stirred up" and some white folks are encouraging it.  Outrageous!

Another huge irony in this scene is that the ladies are indirectly attacking Atticus and Scout doesn't even realize it.  The best line is on p. 234 (in the paperback).  Scout is thinking to herself:

"There was something about them that I instinctively liked... they weren't - " when Mrs. Meriweather interrupts her thoughts with:

'Hypocrites, Mrs. Perkins, born hypocrites.'"

It is the perfect finish to the sentence.

alanna12 | Student

during certain scenes of the novel we can tell that the women of maycomb that they are not sincere, as they “discuss” the certain things and then move on to town gossip and their snacks. The ladies simply gossip and don’t truly care about anyone other than themselves.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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