Miss Maudie is portrayed as a candid, morally-upright woman who supports Atticus and the concept of equality. Unlike the majority of her prejudiced neighbors, Miss Maudie silently supports Atticus. Although she does not attend the Tom Robinson trial, Miss Maudie supports Atticus by offering Jem and Scout words of encouragement following Tom's wrongful conviction. Despite Tom's conviction, Maudie believes that the prejudiced community took a small step towards racial equality.
In chapter 24, Aunt Alexandra hosts the missionary circle at Atticus's home, and the local ladies visit and socialize with each other. Alexandra forces Scout to participate in the gathering, and Scout tries to remain calm in the presence of the outspoken local ladies. During the missionary circle, Miss Merriweather demonstrates her hypocritical nature by openly criticizing Atticus for his defense of Tom Robinson. Mrs. Merriweather refers to Atticus as a "good but misguided" person who did nothing but stir up Maycomb's black population. After Mrs. Merriweather criticizes Atticus, Miss Maudie stands up for him by briefly asking,
His food doesn’t stick going down, does it? (237)
Maudie's comment subtly chastises Mrs. Merriweather for criticizing a man who has graciously opened his house to her. Maudie successfully influences Mrs. Merriweather to drop the subject. Scout then notices Aunt Alexandra give Maudie a look of pure gratitude and wonders at the "world of women." Overall, Miss Maudie stands up for Atticus during the missionary circle by calling out Mrs. Merriweather for being insensitive, inappropriate, and ungrateful.