To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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What does Miss Maudie tell Scout about "some kind of men"?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In chapter 5, Scout is sitting on Maudie's porch having a discussion when Scout inquires about Boo Radley. Miss Maudie explains to Scout that Boo was a kind child and informs Scout that Boo's father was a foot-washing Baptist. Miss Maudie elaborates by telling Scout that foot-washers consider any type of pleasure to be a sin. Maudie mentions that foot-washing Baptists even criticize her for working in her garden and believe that women are a sin by nature. In an attempt to explain religious fanaticism to Scout, Maudie says,

"There are just some kind of men who—who’re so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results" (Lee, 46).

Essentially, Miss Maudie believes that foot-washing Baptists like Mr. Radley are so strict and self-righteous that they end up not getting along with anyone because they are too concerned about their own salvation. Religious fanatics like Mr. Radley have an adverse affect on those around them, which is why Boo has been kept inside his home for all these years. 

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bmadnick eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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To explain a little further, people such as the "foot-washing Baptists" are so concerned about going to Heaven, they don't behave the way they should on earth. Such religious people don't live what they preach. They say they are religious and have no problem telling others how they should live, but in the process they forget to follow their own advice. Miss Maudie feels while living on earth, a person should show his/her humanity by being kind to others and setting a good example for others to follow. She is also referring to people who are hypocrites, those people who tell others what is right or wrong, but they don't live that way themselves.

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alanrice eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The conversation is in Chapter 5. Miss Maudie is referring to the "foot-washing Baptists" such as Boo Radley's father. Old Mr. Radley kept Boo away from all society because, in his opinion, Boo's conduct was a disgrace to the family and, perhaps, somehow sinful. Miss Maudie suggests that "some kind of men" are so obsessed with Heaven that they never learn how to live like good, kind, human beings on earth.

Although her comments refer to the Radleys, there are implications for other Maycomb people as well. Miss Maudie is accusing Old Mr. Radley of hypocrisy - "Maycomb's usual disease."

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