Why does Atticus save Miss Maudie's oak rocking chair?

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One of the important events in chapter 8 of "To Kill A Mockingbird," is when Miss Maudie's house catches on fire.  Atticus gets Jem and Scout out of their house until he is sure the wind won't carry sparks to their house.  While the children are standing in front of the Radley house, out of harm's way Scout and Jem observe all of the men in town coming to help Miss Maudie save what she can of her furniture.  The fire truck won't start because of the cold and the men push it to Maudie's home.  When they turn the water on the hose bursts.  Meanwhile, Scout sees Atticus carrying out Maudie's oak rocking chair and she thinks,

"it is sensible of him to save what she valued most."  (page77)

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Atticus saves Miss Maudie’s rocking chair as an act of kindness toward her. Scout is woken in the middle of the night by her father to learn that Miss Maudie’s house (Miss Maudie is their neighbor) is on fire. All the men run into the house to try to save as much of Miss Maudie’s furniture as possible, but what Atticus chooses to save is her heavy oak rocking chair. Scout asks him about this, and Atticus tells her that he saved the object which Miss Maudie loved the most. Scout understands this; she also knew that the oak rocking chair was the thing that Miss Maudie valued more than her other possessions, as Miss Maudie spent most nights sitting in that rocking chair on her porch.

This scene tells us about each of the three characters: Miss Maudie values the chair because it gives her the opportunity to think and relax and visit with people. Atticus saves the chair because he is a kind man who pays attention to the people around him and is thoughtful about their feelings. The same can be said for Scout, who has also learned strength of character from Miss Maudie, and would want her to have her favorite possession.

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