What does Mattie learn about life from Miss Eva? And what is Eva's ultimate gift to Mattie?

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Mattie regains her confidence and faith in people through Eva; when Eva dies, Mattie obtains her house. Eva's ultimate gift to Mattie is a home—not just a house, though.

Mattie has a hard life after she becomes pregnant and the father of her son abandons her. Her father is abusive, and she leaves so that this won't affect her son. However, she finds peace when she meets Eva, who helps provide for her and Basil. The two men become very close. Naylor writes,

The young black woman and the old yellow woman sat in the kitchen for hours, blending their lives so that what lay behind one and ahead of the other became indistinguishable.

This relationship allows Mattie to grow into a strong and compassionate woman. When Eva dies, Mattie gets her house, so she can continue to live in the home she's known for so long.

Even after her son murders a man, lets Mattie use her house for a bail bond, and then leaves town, causing her to lose her home, Mattie doesn't become hardened. She continues to help other women find their places in the world and recover from traumas that happened to them. Without Eva's teachings and generosity of spirit, it's likely Mattie would have ended up in a different place, with a different mindset.

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In The Women of Brewster Place, Miss Eva teaches Mattie to be strong, resilient, caring, and to consider the larger picture and her future when she makes decisions. Miss Eva takes Mattie and her young son in just at a time when they truly need a supportive figure in their lives. Miss Eva treats Mattie with kindness and allows her to stay at her house free of charge. Miss Eva shows Mattie that there can be kindness in a world in which Mattie continues to struggle. Miss Eva also encourages Mattie to save her money so that she can find stability for herself and her son, Basil. Due to Miss Eva's advice, when Miss Eva dies, Mattie is able to purchase her house and live there for thirty years, before unfortunate circumstances once again force Mattie into instability.

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Miss Eva is a strong independent woman who encourages Mattie to save her money. Due to Miss Eva's advice, after the elderly woman dies, Mattie has enough money to buy Miss Eva's house.

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