What does Mr. Avery do with the stick of stove-wood each week?

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Mr. Avery is just one of the many strange, colorful characters in To Kill a Mockingbird. He's one of the Finches's neighbors, and he boards with Mrs. Dubose, of all people. He doesn't do much in the story except urinate, sit on the porch, and spin the old legend that badly-behaved children are responsible for the change in seasons. His main activity in life consists of whittling down sticks of stove-wood into toothpicks, which he then proceeds to chew.

To his credit, though, he does help Miss Maudie try to save some of her belongings from the fire that destroys her house. Although Mr. Avery may not be the most exciting of characters, he does provide inspiration for Jem and Scout's snowman, which is meant to resemble him.

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In chapter 7, we learn that Mr. Avery takes stovewood and whittles it, or carves it, into a toothpick.

"Mr. Avery averaged a stick of stovewood per week; he honed it down to a toothpick and chewed it."

In one of the most iconic moments in To Kill A Mockingbird, Scout and Jem find their little soap figure likenesses in a hollow of the Radely tree.

When the children find the carvings in the tree, they try to imagine who might have left them there.  They consider Mr. Avery, but then they realize that he lives in the country and probably is not interested in leaving things in trees.  He is sweet on Miss Stephanie, and spends his time sitting on the porch looking at her.  We know this because Scout observes:

“Maybe he sits on the porch and looks at us instead of Miss Stephanie. If I was him, I would.”

Of course, we later learn it is Boo Radley who is leaving the presents.

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