How Does Lee Present Miss Maudie in to Kill a Mockingbird?
Lee presents Miss Maudie as a generally optimistic person, despite being a widow. She uses many techniques to demonstrate Miss Maudies positive view of Maycomb. Lees use of the superlative ‘safest’ to describe Miss Maudies view of the ‘folks’ of Maycomb, this illustrates how highly she regards most of the people who live there, this creates a tone of optimism which juxtaposes her positivity.
Furthermore, Miss Maudie answers an inquisition of jem’s using the verb ‘surprised’ to perhaps demonstrate how she believes that many people ‘do’ share her optimism and that many people have a wrongly judged view of Maycomb and its people. This further emphasises Miss Maudies optimistic view of the county, and could convey Lees view that the 1950’s racism and prejudice was disappearing, and more people needed to see it in that positive light.
This theme of the passing of racist and prejudice opinions that existed within southern America is further explored when Miss Maudie acknowledges that a ‘step’ has been taken towards less prejudice attitudes, Lee then uses the repetition of the verb ‘step’ to emphasise how it is a ‘baby-step’, and although this could be interpreted negatively, it is evident that Lee is illustrating that it’s a great thing that even small advancement towards less racist attitudes is a good thing, and again emphasises Miss Maudies positive view of Maycomb, and demonstrates that she’s hopeful of Maycomb’s change, and sees even the smallest of changes positively.
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Lee presents Maycomb as a slow, and almost depressing place to live, and using many different techniques presents living there as rather mundane. Lee introduces the novel by describing how Maycomb was a ‘tired’ and ‘old’ county, these two adjectives immediately set a scene of a place which people don’t particularly enjoy living in, especially a curious, younger Scout, whose view of the county we are first presented with. Furthermore Lee describes how there was ‘no hurry’, ‘nowhere to go’ and ‘nothing to see’, this list of three further emphasises how mundane and boring Maycomb county was.
Through these techniques, Lee makes it obvious that Scout does not find any fun in living there, and therefore creates a negative impression of what life was like in a 1930’s small town in southern America. However, at the end of the novel, Lee uses ‘older’ Scout to change the reader’s view of Maycomb. Scout learns to not judge Maycomb by its materialistic values, that is, how there was ‘nothing to see’, therefore judging it as boring, but to value the people, and experiences that take place within it.
Lee describes how ‘street lights winked’ at Scout as she walked home, this metaphor demonstrates how drastically Scouts view of Maycomb had changed and how she had learned to view her ‘neighbourhood’ from a different ‘angle’. Through this, Lee explores how although there was ‘nowhere to go’ in a typical 1930’s southern American town, if a person views it from another ‘angle’ without any prejudice, they can see a place from a totally different, and more exciting perspective.