Why does Miss Maudie refuse to attend the court proceedings of Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Like Atticus, Miss Maudie probably recognized that the outcome of the trial was preordained: Tom Robinson's word could not possibly be accepted over the word of any white person's--including the Ewells'. While most of the town headed to the square, to either attend the trial or wait outside, Miss Maudie decided to attend to her summer flowers. When Jem asked if she was going, Maudie responded,

     "I am not... I have no business with the court this morning."

When Dill asked if she was at least going to the square "to watch," she made it clear that the circus atmosphere was not to her liking.

"... 't's morbid, watching a poor devil on trial for his life. Look at all those folks, it's like a Roman carnival.
     "... Just because it's public, I don't have to go, do I?"

The trial was always on her mind that day, however. She later told Jem that

"I was sittin' there on the porch... I waited and waited to see you all come down the sidewalk, and as I waited, I thought Atticus Finch won't win, he can't win, but he's the only man in these parts who can keep a jury out so long in a case like that. And I thought to myself, well, we're making a step--it's just a baby-step, but it's a step."

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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