What values do Miss Maudie and Atticus have but nevertheless do not help with the unjust treatment of Arthur Radley?it seems that only the children in the novel see the unfairness of how both Tom...

What values do Miss Maudie and Atticus have but nevertheless do not help with the unjust treatment of Arthur Radley?

it seems that only the children in the novel see the unfairness of how both Tom Robinson and Arthur Radley are treated, Most of the adults dont want to get involved. Both Miss Maudie and Atticus, who support Tom Robinson, refuse to act to free Boo.

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MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

First, I think both Maudie and Atticus are quick to stop Jem, Dill, and Scout when they catch the children inventing games of Boo's life, or planning to sneak to the Radley's house. This does not arise from a fear of the family, or from any idea than Nathan Radley is a good man. It is because both Ms. Maudie and Atticus know that it is Boo's choice to remain within his own world after so long, and that he prefers the solitude to the greater society. In fact, they are reinforcing those values that show when they defend Tom, in their respect for Boo's life.

Boo Radley exemplifies the mockingbird motif in the novel. Constantly hidden in the shadows, he only truly emerges at the end. In his quiet way, through the gifts left in the tree and the blanket around Scout’s shoulders the night of the fire that destroys Miss Maudie’s house, Boo has been interacting with Jem and Scout through the entire story, but it is not until the end that the children understand his true nature.

This lesson is first revealed when Atticus buys the children guns.

Atticus said to Jem one day, “I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

That’s the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it.

“Your father is right,” she said. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

Without realizing, Jem, Scout, and Dill have in a way been trying to kill that mockingbird. The children have built up a view of Boo based solely on a preconceived notion that is completely wrong. This is similar to the racism evident in the rest of the town: a judgment made before knowledge. Yet from that notion they have developed a pattern of behavior that seeks to destroy the true nature of Boo by pretending that it could not possibly exist. It is Atticus and Ms. Maudie who try to point out their errors.

It is through the attack on the children and Sheriff Tate's understanding that Boo’s identification as a mockingbird becomes most clear. The sheltered innocence of Boo’s life would be threatened should he be brought to trial for the death of Bob Ewell, even though he would most likely be acquitted as a hero. It is this hero worship that would “kill” the mockingbird, Tate believes. The people, especially the women, would bother him continually with food and praise for such a brave act. Such attention would ultimately destroy who Boo is, his innocence, and his quiet love for the children of Atticus Finch. Scout and Jem finally acknowledge this at the end. When Atticus asks Scout if she understands why they will say Bob Ewell fell on his own knife, she replies that is they did it any other way, "Well, it'd be sort of like shootin' a mockingbird, wouldn't it?

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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