Topic 7: In chapter 22, Miss Maudie says some things to Jem and Scout that make the reader really think. She says “There are some men in this world who were born to do our unpleasant jobs for us. Your father’s one of them” (Lee 288). She also says, “We’re the safest folks in the world. We’re so rarely called on to be Christians, but when we are, we’ve got men like Atticus to go for us” (Lee 288). And she also says that “Atticus Finch won’t win [the trial], he can’t win, but he’s the only man in these parts who can keep a jury out so long in a case like that. And… we’re making a step—it’s just a baby-step, but it’s a step” (Lee 289). Analyze and examine these ideas and what Miss Maudie really means.
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I think what Miss Maudie meant to accomplish by telling the children those things was to understand the gravity of the Tom Robinson case and what a huge role it played in Maycomb. She wanted to convey that even though Atticus lost the case, he won by making the people truly view their perceptions on race, equality, and justice. Atticus made the town realize just how far their prejudice would take them. The fact that it took so long for the trial to end when usually "in [their] courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always wins" demonstrates that Atticus succeeded in forcing the townspeople t examine their views on colored folks (Lee 295). This is why what Atticus does is so important, and why not just anybody can do what Atticus has the often unpleasant job of doing.
Because Atticus shed light on the men of the jury, they become one step closer to realizing and acknowledging their biases―and maybe even doing something about it. Jem and Dill can be an example of this, because during and after the case, both are seen to be extremely upset about Tom's treatment, the blatant disrespect thrown his way, and the unfair outcome when all evidence seemed to point the other way.
What I believe Miss Maudie is implying when she says, "We’re so rarely called on to be Christians, but when we are, we’ve got men like Atticus to go for us”, is that people rarely ever call anyone out when they see wrongdoings, like Bob Ewell for example; people see him do horrible things all the time but choose to excuse his bad behavior for the sake of his situation (Lee 288). But when they are actually called on to choose between justice or falsehood, to expose the deceit and deception to the entire town, they scurry away and choose somebody else, Atticus, to do it and trust that he would do the right thing for them, thus shielding them from dishonesty, from ridicule, vilification, and sometimes shame.
All in all, I believe Miss Maudie wants to reassure the children that although they may not like it, and although it may not be pretty, Atticus has no choice but to do the dirty jobs that no one else wants―it's necessary― because if he didn't do it, nobody else would. And believe it or not, Atticus is changing mentalities in Maycomb... One step at a time.
I agree with you because I believe Miss Maudie is a thinker -the brain of Maycomb. Miss Maudie understands the reality of her town and she knows the mentality of the people who live in it. She has big dreams but understands that dreams takes time to become true (especially when your dream seems impossible). Miss Maudie explains that the change she wants to see is happening very slowly but still happening. To further explain, Miss Maudie one of the most open-minded character in the book To Kill A Mockingbird states, "we’re making a step—it’s just a baby-step, but it’s a step” (Lee 289). This shows how Miss Maudie thinks about reality and sees even the baby-steps or small things that are happening that are making a change/difference; She sees the tiny changes that are getting her and the town a step closer to where they dream to be. So her thinking and understanding is what makes her the thinker of Maycomb.
Miss Maudie does more than think, she applies herself. She guides Jem and Scout towards the right path. She provides hope to children and gives them insightful advice. She informs the kids that, "Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy...it's a sin to kill a mockingbird" (Lee 119). Scout takes this to heart and carries this message to the end of the novel. She applies this when dealing with Bob Ewell's death. All that Miss Maudie tells Scout and Jem they took with them the rest of the way. In all, Miss Maudie is like a role model to Jem and especially Scout.
Miss Maudie's ideas revolve around the idea of integrity and one’s beliefs. Miss Maudie is often recognized as the voice of reason in TKaMB. She does this by communicating the importance of having beliefs and actually acting upon them. To stand your ground, even when everyone else is against you, pushing you down. Miss Maudie says that, "some men were born in this world who were born to do our unpleasant jobs. Your father's one of them"(Lee 288). This means to show that they're things that we must do because we owe it to ourselves. (In this case, it was Atticus defending Tom Robinson.) It shows the bravery of Atticus: doing something that no one else dares to do; they do the right thing. And even though no one else wants to do these "unpleasant jobs," it has to be done to set things how they're supposed to be. On top of this, she communicates, "We’re the safest folks in the world. We’re so rarely called on to be Christians, but when we are, we’ve got men like Atticus to go for us"(Lee 288). When she says "Christians" she means one's beliefs. Meaning that we aren't forced to stand up for what we believe in at all times. But those small moments that we are, we've got people with real integrity--like Atticus--who will do the right thing. Who will stand by their beliefs.But that's not all she also says, "Atticus Finch won’t win [the trial], he can’t win, but he’s the only man in these parts who can keep a jury out so long in a case like that. And… we’re making a step—it’s just a baby-step, but it’s a step"(Lee 289). She's speaking of how a black person pleads innocence in the face of a white witness and is denied completely. How everyone knows that the black person is innocent but still labels him as guilty. How only the people who are able to stand their ground, stand for their beliefs, are the ones that will push Maycomb towards a better future, towards equality. She also communicates how sometimes what might seem as a loss, is actually a stepping stone towards a reachable goal. It conveys the idea that there is something to be learned from our "failures." In short, Miss Maudie speaks of integrity and its importance.
In chapter 22 of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Miss Maudie one of the most open-minded citizens of the community talks with Jem and Scout about several things that make the individual reading contemplate.She often spends time speaking with Jem and Scout, helping them to better understand Atticus and their community.When Maudie speaks with the children,she acknowledges what is happening in Maycomb. Miss Maudie states "'there are some men in this world who were born to do our unpleasant jobs for us. Your father's one of them'"(Lee 288).This just goes to show that there is difference beginning to be made with one individual who is Atticus. The county of Maycomb considers Atticus defending Tom to be an unpleasant job due to the fact that Tom is a black man while Atticus is a white man.
Miss Maudie also states "'Atticus Finch won't win [the trial], he can't win, but he's the only man in these parts who can keep a jury out so long in a case like that. And... we're making a step- it's just a baby step,but it's a step'"(Lee 289).This evidence goes to show that Miss Maudie knew that Atticus would not be able to win the trial due to racism and the beliefs that the citizens of Maycomb had during this time. When Miss Maudie says "baby steps" she is trying to imply that the people of Maycomb are taking a step forward towards being less prejudice. It is clear that normally a trial like this ends quickly but Tom's case took several hours. It has been shown that the ideas that Miss Maudie shares are important and beneficial to the children, making them more aware of what is happening around them.
I agree with when you said that "Miss Maudie knew that Atticus would not be able to win the trial due to racism and the beliefs that the citizens of Maycomb had during this time". I agree because since this was at the time of the 60's there was a lot of racism and discrimination towards the black people and especially since this was in the deep south. But the fact that Atticus was able to defend a black man and have a jury last that long in a trial is eminently shocking. to further illuminate this idea Atticus says "They couldn't be fair if they tried. In our courts, when its a white mans word against a black mans, the white man always wins" (Lee 295). This shows that because of how prejudice the people of Maycomb are no matter what, guilty or not, a black man will always be seen lower than a white man. And all because of what--skin color.
By saying the following, Miss Maudie is saying that she really means that Atticus does the hardwork of the county. By Miss Maudie applying this she is saying that the people of Maycomb just don't know how to thank Atticus. Miss Maude is commending Atticus for his actions and integrity. Harper Lee, author of To Kill A Mockingbird stated “Atticus Finch won’t win [the trial], he can’t win, but he’s the only man in these parts who can keep a jury out so long in a case like that. And… we’re making a step—it’s just a baby-step, but it’s a step” (Lee 289). This quote shows that Atticus works hard to bring justice to all, even the African Americans. In the time that the book was set in it was hard for anyone to stand up for African Americans, so the fact that Atticus not only defended Tom Robinson but also worked hard to make the trial go on longer shows a lot of integrity. He is standing up for whats right even if everyone disagrees with his decision.
I don't necessarily think that everyone disagrees with Atticus. They know that Tom Robinson was an innocent man, but since what Atticus was asking of them went against everything that they have learned their entire lives, they still labeled him as guilty. And even someone that was called on to be a witness (Mr. Heck Tate), said "there's a black boy dead for no reason, and the man responsible for it's dead. Let the dead bury the dead" (Lee 369). Because even in court, where Atticus explicitly states that, "in or courts, all men are created equal," Tom Robinson was given an unfair trial (Lee 274) . And that just goes to prove how people are unable to change their mindset to a better one. Even in today's society people can't seem to accept change, to accept others. And i think that Miss Maudie understood that and that's why she didn't go to the trial; she knew exactly how it will play out, no mater how strong the defense was.
I agree with Iridescent because although many people disagreed with Atticus actions and what he stands up for, many know that Atticus is doing the right thing but they refuse to face the truth because of their closed mindset: a mindset that is not open to the idea of change and new things; Many white people of Maycomb town have had the idea/mindset that people of color are considered less valuable for hundreds or maybe thousands of years, it has became part of their tradition -so to think that the mind that's been build for thousands of years can change overnight it's not possible. This is why Miss Maudie, a character from To Kill A Mockingbird states, "in [their] courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always wins"(Lee 295). This explains the closed mindset people have, the mindset of looking at differences instead of the similarities and not accepting them. The quote explains that based on the color of your skin you can be guilty when you are not (now where is the justice it's been talking about?) This is why its not possible to change overnight, and it takes time to get there.
I agree with you Iridescent about how not everyone disagrees with Atticus but I believe that majority of the people do. The people of Maycomb are against what Atticus is doing which is defending Tom but there is one person in particular who seems to understand Atticus's actions as time passes and this individual is Jem. As Jem started getting older he became more understanding because he wanted Atticus to win the trial and he seemed to have faith that his father could've won especially when he said "We've won,haven't we?"(Lee 276). To further reinforce this point Harper Lee states "It was Jem's turn to cry. His face was streaked with angry tears as we made our way through the cheerful crowd."It ain't right, he murmured"(Lee 284).This evidence shows that Jem cared about Tom and that he supported what Atticus was doing. Indeed it is clear that the "cheerful crowd" is the people who did not agree with Atticus and were not supportive. I think that Jem was being sympathetic towards his father and Tom. He was sympathetic towards them both because he was feeling sorrow for the hardships that they were encountering.After all, it is evident that the county of Maycomb needs more people like Atticus and Jem to make a difference.
You said that Jew was crying because he was "sympathetic" (towards Tom Robinson and Atticus), but i don't think that's quite it. Jem wasn't crying only for Tom's death, but because of the sudden realization that their town is truly messed up at its core. Thus Jem refused to even speak of the courthouse again. No one saw this change in Jem's attitude as permanent but as a "phase." Scout describes this as, "When he was able to think about [the courthouse], Jem would be himself again" (Lee 331). The courthouse did more than cause Jem to act out at times, but allowed Jem to grow into a wiser person. We saw Jem go from doing childish things to understanding more complex subjects in the span of two years. And even though Jem doesn't like to think of the courthouse, it aided tremendously to his growth.
I agree with you the Jem wasn't just crying out of sympathy but out of rage that the people of Maycomb didn't see the truth. I also believe he was crying because he expected his father to win the case and he was so excited that people would see right from wrong but he got let down which made him furious. Even when scout would mention the trial to Jem he would get angry at her because he didn't want it all to come flooding back in. At on point scout mentions the court to Jem and he replies "I never wanta hear about that courthouse again, ever, ever you hear me?You hear me?Don't you ever say one word to me about it again, you hear? Now go on!" (Lee 247). Jem never wanted the courthouse to be brought up because it reminded him that neither Atticus or himself could do anything to save Tom.