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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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In To Kill a Mockingbird, what does Miss Maudie jealously guard?

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The part that you are looking for can be found near the end of chapter 8. It is definitely not a main point of this chapter. This is the chapter that sees Miss Maudie's house burn down and Boo secretly placing a blanket on Scout while she is watching the men fight the fire. Despite losing her house and most of her possessions, Miss Maudie remains in fairly high spirits. Scout admits that she is perplexed by this behavior, and Miss Maudie explains that despite losing her house, there is still a lot to be thankful for.

She must have seen my perplexity. She said, "Only thing I worried about last night was all the danger and commotion it caused. This whole neighborhood could have gone up."

She personally wants to do something nice for Mr. Avery. Mr. Avery helped fight the fire and rescue some of the possessions, but he was injured in the process. Miss Maudie wants to make him a lane cake; however, she must wait until Stephanie Crawford isn't looking, as Crawford has been after Miss Maudie's recipe for 30 years:

Soon as I can get my hands clean and when Stephanie Crawford’s not looking, I’ll make him a Lane cake. That Stephanie’s been after my recipe for thirty years, and if she thinks I’ll give it to her just because I’m staying with her she’s got another think coming.

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Miss Maudie jealously guards her recipe for Lane Cake (chapter 5 and chapter 8). Maudie Atkinson is shown to be a broad-minded woman in a mostly narrow-minded town.  She is the female equivalent of Atticus.  Her one area of selfishness is in the secrecy of her recipe.  Scout notes that "[Miss Maudie] made the best cakes in the neighborhood."  Lane Cake, according to the story, is a staple recipe among southern women, and Miss Maudie notes that Stephanie Crawford has been after her recipe for years. In chapter 8, Miss Maudie makes this observation after she tells Scout she plans to make a cake for Mr. Avery after a fire destroyed Miss Maudie's house where Mr. Avery roomed. (Note:  Lane Cake is a cake made with fruit and nuts.  Many variations of the recipe can be found.)

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