To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Why does Miss Maudie refuse to go to the trial in Chapter 16 of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird? What does she mean when she makes the reference to a Roman carnival?

Expert Answers info

Tamara K. H. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write3,619 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

In Chapter 16 of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, when the children ask Miss Maudie if she is going to watch Tom Robinson's trial at the courthouse on the day of the trial, Miss Maudie responds with the following:

't's morbid, watching a poor devil on trial for his life.


In saying the above, Miss Maudie is asserting that it is mentally unhealthy, even grisly for people to want to be spectators at a trial, just to see someone being put on trial for his/her life. People who are not Tom Robinson should be feeling enough respect for life itself not to want to watch him be sentenced to death. Later, she tells the children she was certain Atticus would not win the case due to the racial prejudices of the jury; therefore, she knew Robinson would be sentenced to death, which was not something she felt was morally right to observe.

In her response to the children, Miss Maudie compares the...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 476 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now




check Approved by eNotes Editorial

clairewait eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write2,328 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Science

check Approved by eNotes Editorial