What chapter shows how hypocrisy is used in To Kill a Mockingbird?

Asked on by kregdm

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Probably the two most obvious examples of hypocrisy occur during the Missionary Circle meeting (in Chapter 24) and from the mouth of Scout's third grade teacher, Miss Gates (in Chapter 26). Aunt Alexandra's church group is full of gossipy, back-biting women: In very unladylike fashion, Miss Stephanie criticizes Scout about her tomboy ways; and Mrs. Merriweather, "the most devout lady in Maycomb," implores the others to help the poor, uncivilized Mruna tribe in Africa, but then ridicules the actions of her Negro maid, Sophy. Later, Mrs. Merriweather--while eating the food which Atticus (who is deliberately absent) has purchased for the party--insults him in a roundabout way concerning his decision to defend Tom Robinson.

During a history lesson about modern-day Germany, Miss Gates deplores Hitler's treatment of the Jews. However, Scout remembers another conversation she has overheard Miss Gates have with Miss Stephanie when her teacher declared somebody needed to teach Maycomb's Negroes a lesson--

"... they were gettin' way above themselves, an' the next thing they think they can do is marry us."

Scout wonders how a person

"... can hate Hitler so bad an' then turn around and be ugly about folks right at home--"


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