In To Kill a Mockingbird, what was Miss Maudie's state of mind after the fire? 

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Miss Maudie was certainly not happy to see her house burning to the ground. When Jem and Scout first approach her as the fire burns, Atticus indicates that Miss Maudie is not in the mood to talk about it. Given the small textual evidence, we can only assume that Miss Maudie was upset to lose her house and other possessions that they were not able to get out before the fire overcame them. 

However, the next day when the children go to see Miss Maudie, she is surprisingly optimistic. 

"Don’t you worry about me, Jean Louise Finch. There are ways of doing things you don’t know about. Why, I’ll build me a little house and take me a couple of roomers and—gracious, I’ll have the finest yard in Alabama. Those Bellingraths’ll look plain puny when I get started!” 

Not only is Miss Maudie making the most of a bad situation; she also doesn't seek pity or sympathy. In fact, she selflessly thinks of others: 

Miss Maudie puzzled me. With most of her possessions gone and her beloved yard a shambles, she still took a lively and cordial interest in Jem’s and my affairs. 

Miss Maudie says that she was only worried about the commotion and if the fire would've spread to other houses. She expresses concern for Mr. Avery who was injured during the fire. Like Atticus, Miss Maudie considers the big picture and such a consideration involves thinking of others and turning a tragedy into a productive situation. Miss Maudie is a great role model for the children. She is always fair, generous, and never talks down to them. 

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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