You need to have read thru chapter five of To Kill a Mockingbird to respond to this topic.  If you have NOT read thru chapter five, please do NOT read further (as it will spoil/give away information you haven't read yet).

  • In chapter five we meet Sister Miss Maudie Atkinson.  And she is clearly trying to teach Scout something when she shares ideas like "sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of [someone like Atticus]" and "some men [are] so busy worrying about the next world, they've never learned to live in this one" (Lee 60).
  • So here is the question: What is the purpose of Miss Maudie Atkinson?  What is her role in the story so far?  Why does her character exist?  And here's another way to look at it: How would the story change--what would it lose--if Miss Maudie was NOT in the book?  (Make sure to link your answer to the "big picture" and the central ideas that this book explores.)

Tags: TKaMB

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i think Miss Maudie's role in the text is to be a friend of the children and to teach them lessons. in the text, Scout describes how their relationship is and says "she was not all interested in our private lives. she was our friend" (Lee 44-45). When describing Miss Maudie, you can conclude that she wasn't too involved with them personally and she was just a friend. although they are friends, Miss Maudie teaches them that "[if you're] so busy worrying about the next world, [you'll] never learn to live this one" (Lee 45). shes clearly teaching them a lesson, but as a friend figure.

When Miss Maudie states "sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of [someone like Atticus]" and "some men [are] so busy worrying about the next world, they've never learned to live in this one" (Lee 60), i feel like shes trying to say that the people that believe in the bible or other sorts of religious books can lead to misinterpretation and use it for something bad. A lot of people misinterpret the Quran like terrorists groups and use it for their advantage but there actually doing a bad thing because that book is something good and a lot of people believe in it. So it can create conflicts and misinterpretation of the religious books and people. If you take a whisky bottle it wouldn't be as bad as to do something bad with the Bible. Thats what i think Miss Maudie is saying in this quote.

I feel like the purpose of Miss Maudie is to represent the individuals who are truly themselves. Atkinson stands out because she is her own character and does her own thing. Her individualism helps in balancing out the erratic behavior in the novel. Miss Maudie is the wisdom Scout and Jem need, which is why she is the one the who puts sense into them. In chapter 5 Miss Maudie states "There are some kind of men who-who're busy worrying about the next world they've never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results" (Lee 60). Here Atkinson is referring to Nathan Radly and his family and his Baptist ways. Radley and the Baptists judge Atkinson and condemn her as a sinner for seeking pleasure as an individual. Although they do this, Miss Maudie I feel has learnt to accept their judgement, but she didn't let it affect the way she thinks and acts-proof of that is that she still "wastes her time" on her garden. Miss Maudie Atkinson is the character in the book that teaches the others wisdom; throughout everything that happens she has ability to balance out their crazy traits. 

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