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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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In Chapter 5 of To Kill a Mockingbird, what is there in the character of Miss Maudie Atkinson to justify the children's faith?

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Above all else, Miss Maudie Atkinson treats Jem and Scout as equals, rarely condescending to them or prying into their private lives. Scout enjoys sitting with Maudie on her porch during the warm summer evenings, especially when Jem and Dill are off on their own boyish pursuits, driving "me closer to her with their behavior." They often sit silently, watching the sun go down and "the martins swoop low over the neighborhood." Maudie allows the children "the free run" of her yard, provided they don't damage her prized azaleas, and they are welcome to eat their fill of her scuppernongs. Scout likes Maudie's grin that exposes her "two minute gold prongs clipped to her eyeteeth," and the way that 

... with a click of her tongue she thrust out her bridgework, a gesture of cordiality that cemented our friendship.

All three of the children love the cakes she bakes for them (Maudie is the best baker in the neighborhood), and Maudie speaks highly of Atticus--and even of his brother, Jack.

She had never told on us, had never played cat-and-mouse with us... She was our friend.

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