Illustration of a bird perched on a scale of justice

To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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After Jem expresses disillusionment over the trial and the verdict, Miss Maudie defends the town and its people. Paraphrase what she says to Jem in To Kill A Mockingbird.

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In chapter 24, Miss Maudie invites Jem, Dill, and Scout over to her house to eat cake on the day following the trial. Typically, Miss Maudie makes three tiny cakes for the kids and one big cake for adults. On this day, though, there are only two little cakes because Jem gets a slice from the adult-sized cake. It's as though Miss Maudie shows Jem that she considers him an adult now. Scout's impression of the scene is as follows:

"As we ate, we sensed that this was Miss Maudie's way of saying that as far as she was concerned, nothing had changed" (215).

Be that as it may, Jem sure feels disillusioned after witnessing the wrongful conviction of an innocent man. While the kids' mouths are full, Maudie takes a moment to tell Jem that Atticus is a man who is on earth "to do our unpleasant jobs for us" (215). In a way, she is saying that Atticus is a hero. Most people don't have the gumption to stand up for what is right even though they might have the desire to do so. Atticus, according to Miss Maudie, is the man that people call upon to take that stand for the rest of them. In a way, he represents other people in town who support him.

Jem replies by saying that he thought people in Maycomb were the best people in the world, but he doesn't seem to think so now. Miss Maudie answers by saying that the people of Maycomb are "the safest" people in the world because they call upon men like Atticus to fight their Christian battles for them. Miss Maudie finishes by saying that Atticus changed Maycomb by representing Tom Robinson because he made the jury stop and think about the issues longer than any other lawyer could have done. She believes that by making the townspeople reflect on the issues surrounding the case that a baby-step towards progress was made as a result of Atticus's work. Miss Maudie hopes that Jem will find some peace of mind knowing her thoughts. 

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After the trial, Jem is disillusioned with the outcome. Miss Maudie defends the town and its people. She states that Judge Taylor was trying to get Tom Robinson the best representation he could have by appointing Atticus as his lawyer. Miss Maudie explains that Judge Taylor could have appointed someone else as Tom Robinson's lawyer. She also stated that Atticus did a good job because the jury deliberated for so long. The jury was not immediately convinced that Tom Robinson was guilty. Miss Maudie tried to console Jem. She said the town was making baby steps in the right direction. She was referring to the racism and prejudices found in Maycomb. She insisted that many people in the town were proud of the good job Atticus did while defending Tom Robinson. Miss Maudie sincerely tried to make Jem feel better.  


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