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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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In chapter 5 of To Kill a Mockingbird, what do we learn about Miss Maudie?

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Miss Maudie lives across the street and down a few houses from the Finches. She is the complete opposite of the gossip Miss Stephanie Crawford. Miss Maudie minds her own business and doesn't get caught up in other people's lives. Scout absolutely loves Maudie for her strength of character and integrity. Scout first describes her as follows:

"Miss Maudie hated her house: time spent indoors was time wasted. She was a widow, a chameleon lady who worked in her flower beds in an old straw hat and coveralls, but after her five o'clock bath she would appear on the porch and reign over the street in magisterial beauty" (42).

Miss Maudie not only allows the children to run around in her yard, but she also bakes them little cakes and treats them like friends. As a result, Scout feels safe enough to ask her what she thinks about the Boo Radley rumors.

Fortunately, Miss Maudie dispels some of Scout's fear by telling her that she knew Boo when he was a child, and that he was very soft-spoken. She also mentions to Scout that Boo had a very difficult and strict father, so life probably wasn't easy for him at home. Therefore, Miss Maudie is a lot like Atticus because she shows Scout how to look at people in a different way and not to listen to gossip. Miss Maudie is a good woman and a good example of kindness and integrity for the children.

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Instead of being despondent over the burning of her home, Miss Maudie stands as an example of bravery to the children and others. She tells Jem and the others that she looks forward to rebuilding a smaller house that will allow her to have more room for her precious flowers.

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I would say that we learn that like the character of Atticus, Maudie has similar views about the rights and dignity of all people.

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