What is the character development of Miss Maudie, Miss Stephanie Crawford and Miss Rachel in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

MISS RACHEL HAVERFORD.  Dill's Aunt Rachel is the least developed of the three unmarried neighbors of the Finches. She comes from a family whose name in Maycomb is

... synonymous with jackass.

Several of Miss Rachel's kin were Atticus's

... first two clients... the last two persons hanged in the Maycomb County jail.

Dill seems to get along with his aunt during the early chapters of the book, but he becomes more cynical about her as he grows older. Dill claims that she is a closet alcoholic and that she

"... drinks a pint for breakfast every morning--know she drinks two glasses full. Seen her." 

MISS STEPHANIE CRAWFORD.  The "neighborhood scold" and the biggest gossip in all of Maycomb, Miss Stephanie provides the children with most of the rumors about Boo Radley, and she is quick to deliver any town news she may hear--whether factual or not. She callously tells the children about the threats she has heard Bob Ewell make to Atticus, and she seems to enjoy making Scout the butt of several jokes she makes at the Missionary Circle tea.

... no one with a grain of sense trusted Miss Stephanie...

MISS MAUDIE ATKINSON.  Miss Maudie is an old friend of the Finch family, having grown up near Finch's Landing. The daughter of Doctor Buford, Maudie is a widow who has chosen to never remarry. She is an independent sort, and a bit eccentric, a woman who prefers to spend her time outdoors working in her flower beds. But she also enjoys spending summer evenings on her porch with Scout, and Jem and Scout trust her implicitly.

Jem and I had considerable faith in Miss Maudie... She was our friend.

Maudie explains to Scout about Atticus's message concerning it being "a sin to kill a mockingbird," and she is the first to reveal to the children about Atticus's secret talent from the past: that he was the "deadest shot in Maycomb County" as a youth. She defends Atticus following the trial, explaining to Scout that some people 

"... were born to do our unpleasant jobs for us. Your father is one of those men."

She also defends Atticus when Mrs. Merriweather backhandedly insults him during the Missionary Circle tea, and she shows the respect that she has earned when she commands Scout and Aunt Alexandra to regain their composure and show "not a sign" of their grief following the news of Tom Robinson's death. 

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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