Compare and contrast Lee's presentation of Miss Maudie, Mrs Dubose and Aunt Alexandra. What do the children learn from their encounters with these characters?
In the novel ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee the protagonist Jean Louise ‘Scout’ Finch and her brother ‘Jem’ meet a few female characters who all affects some part of the lives of the children. Harper Lee resists some of the conventional stereotypes of women from that era which is shown through the character Miss Maudie Atkinson who is opinionated, and speak her mind. Miss Maudie’s morality is level with Atticus’ and unlike some other female residents of Maycomb County, Miss Maudie minds her own business and behaves with integrity. She shows people the respect they deserve, calling Scout "Jean Louise" and Boo Radley "Arthur," proves this.
Miss Maudie totally opposes Aunt Alexandra, who is the sister of Atticus, the childrens father. Miss Maudie is someone who is there for Scout to talk to and will actually listen as she is a woman who does not judge people but has a broad mind, for example about the trial of Tom Robinson. However Aunt Alexandra fits the sterotype of women of that time as she behaves very lady-like and wishes to impose this manner onto Scout and turn her into a "lady". She doesn't approve of Atticus's defense of a black man, even though he is innocent. She is very concerned about how the Finch family is seen in the community. She doesn't want them to do anything that will make the town go against them. Aunt Alexandra, who is all about image, comes to stay with Atticus and the kids so she can preserve the family name, which Jem and Scout object to. The first thing she does when she arrives is criticize Scout for acting like a boy "We decided it best for you to have some feminine influence" but Scout does not like Aunt Alexandra trying to change her, therefore she resists the change despite Aunt Alexandra attempts. conversely Miss Maudie alters Scout's perception of womanhood...
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