Who displays optimism in To Kill a Mockingbird, and what is the cause for the optimism and what is the result?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Miss Maudie is one of the most optimistic characters in To Kill a Mockingbird.

     She loved everything that grew in God's earth...  (Chapter 5)

She encourages Scout to be herself when others try to demean her unladylike ways. She refuses to belittle Boo Radley, instead remembering how "He always spoke nicely to me" when he was a boy. She stays incredibly upbeat after her house burns down, promising to rebuild and "have the finest yard in Alabama." But her optimism is best displayed when she tries to comfort Jem and Scout after Atticus loses the Tom Robinson case. She assures them that Atticus is an important figure in Maycomb, a man who was "born to do our unpleasant jobs for us." She won't accept "Jem's fatalistic noises" concerning the trial, reminding him that "we've got Atticus to go for us" when he is needed. Most importantly, she believes that Atticus's defense of Tom is a step forward for the town against the racism that exists.

"... we're making a step--it's just a baby-step, but it's a step."  (Chapter 22)


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