To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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Why did Aunt Alexandra silently thank Miss Maudie in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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In chapter twenty-four, Aunt Alexandra hosts her missionary circle at the Finch house, and Scout is invited to engage in the social event. While the women are drinking their tea in the living room, Mrs. Merriweather begins to discuss the solemn behavior of her African American helpers following the Tom Robinson trial. She then makes the comment,

There are some good but misguided people in this town. Good, but misguided.

Mrs. Merriweather indirectly criticizes Atticus for defending Tom Robinson and believes that the only thing Atticus did was to "stir 'em up." Miss Maudie recognizes Mrs. Merriweather's indirect criticism of Atticus and subtly defends Atticus by saying, "His food...

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