What is ironic about the missionary circle's conversation, in Chapter 24?

5 Answers

jamie-wheeler's profile pic

Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

The ladies are condescending and judgmental, pious and gossipy, hardly the appellations one would attribute to true Christian behavior.  But above all, they are prejudiced.  Ms. Merriweather who Scout says was known as "the most devout lady in Maycomb," has this very unlady-like and un-Chrisitian assessement to offer:

"Gertrude, I tell you there's nothing more distracting than a sulky darky.  Their mouths go down to here.  Just ruins your day to have one of 'em in your kitchen.  You know what I said to my Sophy, Gertrude?  I said, 'Sophy,' I said, 'you were simply not being a Christian today.  Jesus Christ never went around grumbling and complaining,' and you know, it did her good.  She took her eyes off that floor and said, "Nome, Miz Merriweather, Jesus never went around grumblin'.'  I tell you, Gertrude, you never ought to let an opportunity go by to witness for the Lord."


luannw's profile pic

luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted on

The irony here is that the women are bemoaning the situation regarding the "poor" Mruna tribe of Africans while they treat the blacks with disdain.  They want to help the missionary, J. Everett Grimes, who is in Africa working with this tribe. The blacks are a poor people in need of help as long as they are in Africa and not next door.  Harper Lee puts this scene in the story to show the hypocrisy of these women. 

mjaaaz's profile pic

mjaaaz | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

Also, another factor is that Miss Merriweather (I think) says that they have no sense of family pride: that all the children are together, like one big family....... but surely this is a good thing? They all love one another and care for each other like a big family.