Miss Maudie's Character Analysis

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Courage is defined as the ability to do something that frightens one. It is also strength in the face of pain or grief. Several characters in To Kill A Mockingbird serve as examples of courage or lack thereof. In particular, Miss Maudie Atkinson is a courageous minor character. Contrastingly, the minor character Mayella Ewell displays a lack of courage and bravery, while Jem Finch is a major character who exemplifies courage. Miss Maudie is courageous because of her unwillingness to act like so many in Maycomb do, and because of her strength in the thick of pain and anger. In To Kill a Mockingbird, “foot-washers” or extreme Baptists believe that pleasure in this world blocks the way to paradise. They feel they must impose “their true knowledge …show more content…
In a bout of religious fanaticism, these foot-washers come to Miss Maudie’s home, and tell her, “me [you] and my [your] flowers were [are] going to hell,[.]” (59). But Miss Maudie is not a blind group follower, like the foot-washers. Miss Maudie refuses to act like everyone else simply to get along. She thinks and acts according to her own judgment. That makes her a courageous person. Miss Maudie also displays her courage at Aunt Alexandra’s missionary circle. Mrs. Merriweather, is rude and disrespectful when she criticizes Atticus. However, Miss Maudie puts her in her place when she reminds her, “His food doesn’t stick going down, does it?”(312). Miss Maudie asserts herself as the one in control. This is the expansion of an earlier event in the book, a fire that destroys the home of Miss Maudie. Nevertheless, Miss Maudie is courageous and optimistic about the outcome. Her behavior illustrates the dictionary definition: strength in the face of pain or grief. Miss Maudie asserts herself as strong in the middle of a painful tragedy to many in Maycomb. She shows her courage to Scout, …show more content…
To begin, Mayella charges an innocent black man with a most serious crime: rape. Tom Robinson, the indicted, is the only figure of kindness in Mayella’s poor and abusive home. Mayella’s father was abusive and made her life miserable. Tom instead, helped her with her mundane chores, and Tom was not paid a nickel for the services he undertook for Mayella’s benefit. As Atticus states in his closing argument, Mayella, a white woman, broke a social code (fraternization with a black man) and instead of owning up to her feelings and actions, she falsely accused Tom of committing a crime. The real predator whom Mayella should have accused was her father, Bob Ewell. He abused her and her family, and posed a real threat as a harasser in Maycomb. This is evident when Bob harasses Helen Robinson, Tom Robinson’s wife, on her way to work. But Mayella could not stand up to her abusive father or to the town. Because she lacks the courage to defy cemented social norms, Mayella Ewell instead accuses an innocent of a crime that never happened, when the assault was perpetrated by her father. Mayella’s actions are a symptom of what Atticus Finch calls: “Maycomb’s usual disease. Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don’t pretend to understand.” (117). While Miss Maudie is immune to this plague, Mayella is not. She uses Tom Robinson

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