To Kill a Mockingbird

Miss Maudie Atkinson Character Analysis

The Finches’ neighbor across the street. Miss Maudie is in her 40s and a widow, and she loves to garden but hates her house. She’s a mostly benign presence in Scout’s life until Jem and Dill begin excluding her, at which point Scout begins spending more time with Miss Maudie and decides they’re friends after Miss Maudie shows Scout her bridgework (fake teeth). Miss Maudie, like Atticus, has an innate sense of morality and believes that all people deserve to be treated with respect and compassion. She’s adamant that Arthur Radley is just different, not evil, and she suggests that he’s suffered abuse of some kind at home from his overly religious father. Miss Maudie is opinionated and willing to express her views, and as such, often calls out Miss Stephanie and others for gossiping and spreading rumors. Following the trial, Miss Maudie tries to impress upon Jem in particular that Atticus did a necessary and important thing by defending Tom Robinson, even though he knew he wasn’t going to win. She encourages Jem to look for the other people who aren’t all bad or who somehow tried to help Atticus and Robinson.

Miss Maudie Atkinson Quotes in To Kill a Mockingbird

The To Kill a Mockingbird quotes below are all either spoken by Miss Maudie Atkinson or refer to Miss Maudie Atkinson. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Warner Books edition of To Kill a Mockingbird published in 1960.
Chapter 5 Quotes

“There are just some kind of men who—who're so 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.”

Page Number: 50
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 10 Quotes

“Remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.” That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it.

“Your father's right,” she said. “Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (Scout) (speaker), Atticus Finch (speaker), Miss Maudie Atkinson (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Mockingbird
Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:
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Miss Maudie Atkinson Character Timeline in To Kill a Mockingbird

The timeline below shows where the character Miss Maudie Atkinson appears in To Kill a Mockingbird. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5
Prejudice Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
...in the summer and then seemed to forget about her. Scout starts spending time with Miss Maudie , who up to this point has only been a benign presence in her life.... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Prejudice Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
Miss Maudie is a widow who hates her house. She spends her day gardening and her evenings... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Prejudice Theme Icon
Miss Maudie explains that Arthur just stays in the house. Scout wants to know why, so Miss... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Prejudice Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Scout tells Miss Maudie about the rumors surrounding Boo, but Miss Maudie insists they all came from black superstitions... (full context)
Chapter 6
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...the Radley front gate. Jem insists that they have to go, or it’ll look suspicious. Miss Maudie tells the children that Nathan Radley shot at a black man in his collard patch... (full context)
Chapter 7
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...if they should write a letter to whomever’s leaving them things. They argue about whether Miss Maudie left them the treasures but address their letter to a “sir” and sign it. The... (full context)
Chapter 8
Growing Up Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
...soggy snow and walking in it, which he insists is wasting it. They walk in Miss Maudie ’s yard, where Mr. Avery accuses them of bringing on this bad weather. Scout, knowing... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
...insists it’s not a caricature since it looks just like Mr. Avery, but he fetches Miss Maudie ’s sunhat and clippers. Miss Maudie shouts for her hat and she and Atticus discuss... (full context)
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
...Atticus shakes her. She hears a horrifying sound and asks whose house is burning. It’s Miss Maudie ’s. Atticus sends Scout and Jem to stand in front of the Radley Place for... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Courage Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
...the fire in pajamas. Scout is frozen by the time another fire truck arrives and Miss Maudie ’s house collapses. Men leave around dawn and Jem and Scout approach Miss Maudie and... (full context)
Courage Theme Icon
...noon, when Calpurnia wakes them and sends them to clean up the yard. They find Miss Maudie ’s hat and clippers and take them to her. They offer condolences for her house,... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Jem notices Miss Maudie ’s dirty and bloody hands. He suggests she hire a black man to help and... (full context)
Chapter 10
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Courage Theme Icon
...kill a mockingbird. This isn’t a normal thing for Atticus to say, so Scout asks Miss Maudie about it. She agrees with Atticus and says that mockingbirds just sing for people. Scout... (full context)
Courage Theme Icon
Miss Maudie sends Scout home, so the construction crew doesn’t crush her. Scout finds Jem’s attempts to... (full context)
Courage Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
...can’t formulate words. Atticus warns Jem and Scout to stay away from the body, and Miss Maudie calls Atticus “One-Shot Finch.” (full context)
Courage Theme Icon
Atticus and Mr. Tate head back to town. Miss Maudie silences Miss Stephanie and tells Jem that Atticus used to be the best shot in... (full context)
Chapter 12
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
...sing hymns and Calpurnia explains that most of the congregation is illiterate. She says that Miss Maudie ’s aunt taught her to read. Calpurnia taught Zeebo from a book that Atticus’s father... (full context)
Chapter 16
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Prejudice Theme Icon
Courage Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
...what seems like the entire county head for the courthouse. They hear the Baptists tell Miss Maudie she’s going to hell for her flowers. (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Prejudice Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
Scout, Dill, and Jem go across the street to see if Miss Maudie is going to court to watch. She isn’t. Miss Stephanie Crawford announces that she’s headed... (full context)
Chapter 22
Growing Up Theme Icon
...Jem leads Dill and Scout outside. They see Miss Stephanie talking to Mr. Avery and Miss Maudie . Miss Maudie yells for Jem. Miss Stephanie starts asking why the children were in... (full context)
Courage Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
Miss Maudie baked two small cakes and one large one, which seems wrong until Miss Maudie cuts... (full context)
Chapter 23
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Prejudice Theme Icon
...that one day, they’re going to pay for this mistreatment. Jem asks why nobody like Miss Maudie ever sits on juries. Atticus points out that in Alabama, women can’t serve, though he... (full context)
Chapter 24
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...Alexandra again asks Scout to stay, and Scout feels apprehensive as she sits next to Miss Maudie . (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Courage Theme Icon
Miss Maudie asks Scout where her pants are and Scout says they’re under her dress, not meaning... (full context)
Prejudice Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
...was stir up the black people. Scout isn’t paying attention, but Mrs. Merriweather’s comment angers Miss Maudie . Aunt Alexandra changes the subject and gives Miss Maudie a look of thanks. Scout... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Prejudice Theme Icon
...is white, and he asks to speak to Aunt Alexandra in the kitchen. Scout and Miss Maudie follow, and he explains that Tom is dead: he tried to climb over a fence... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Courage Theme Icon
Aunt Alexandra sits down, and Miss Maudie breathes heavily. Wearily, Aunt Alexandra says that she doesn’t always approve of Atticus, but she... (full context)
Chapter 31
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Prejudice Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...of the window and in her mind, watches Miss Stephanie gossip with Miss Rachel while Miss Maudie gardens and children scamper around. She can see children playing in the yard and in... (full context)