To Kill a Mockingbird – Chapter 5 Study Guide

Describe Miss Maudie Atkinson Miss Maudie is a widow who lives in the neighborhood. She loves to garden and is always outside. She has a crisp way of speaking and smiles a lot.
Why does Scout like her so much? Scout and the other kids like her because she is kind, generous, honest, and treats them with respect: “She had never told on us, had never played cat-and mouse with us, she was not at all interested in our private lives.
What does Scout mean when she says that Miss Maudie was a “chameleon lady”? Scout means that her appearance could change dramatically: “[She] worked in her flower beds in an old straw hat and men’s coveralls, but after her five o’ clock bath she would appear on the porch and reign over the street in magisterial beauty.”
Miss Maudie says that Mr. Radley had been a “foot-washing Baptist.” What does she mean by this statement? What do foot-washing Baptists believe, according to her? “Foot-washing Baptists” is a term for Baptists who take the Bible literally. According to Miss Maudie, they believe “anything that’s pleasure is a sin.” They also believe that “women are a sin by definition.”
Like her son, Mrs. Radley is rarely seen outside of the house. How might Mr. Radley’s religious views explain this fact? Mr. Radley’s rigid religious views hold that women are sinful. This might explain why Mrs. Radley is rarely seen outside of the house. She may be shut up in the house not necessarily by her own will but by the will of her husband. Like Boo, she may be a prisoner in her own home.
What causes Scout to question “pulpit Gospel”? How does her questioning relate to Miss Maudie? As Miss Maudie tells Scout about foot-washing Baptists, she says that one day one of them told her she was going to hell because she was spending “too much time in God’s outdoors and not enough time inside the house reading the Bible.” This causes Scout’s confidence in pulpit Gospel to plummet. She finds it incomprehensible why a person as kind and honest as Miss Maudie should be sent to hell.
As Scout and Miss Maudie talk about religion, Scout tells her how Atticus defines God. What is God, according to Atticus? According to Atticus, God is “loving folks like you love yourself.”
When Miss Maudie says, “but sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whiskey bottle in the hand of—oh, of your father.” What person is she criticizing, and what is the point of her criticism? She is being critical of Boo Radley’s father. She is saying that religion in the hands of an extremist is worse than whiskey in the hands of a moderate person. Her point is that Mr. Radley’s sense of right and wrong was so rigid that it led him to punish Boo in a cruel and excessive way. As a result, Boo has become a recluse.
The children view Boo Radley as a strange and frightening figure. How do Miss Maudieand Atticus view him? What do they say about him? Miss Maudie initially tells Scout that Boo Radley simply wishes to stay inside the house: “Wouldn’t you stay in the house if you didn’t want to come out?” She does not believe any of the rumors or gossip about Boo. She remembers that Boo Radley was always kind and polite when he was a boy. When Scout asks her if Boo is crazy, Miss Maudie admits that he may be by now because he has been secluded in the house for so long: “The things that happen to people we never really know. What happens in houses behind closed doors, what secrets—.” Miss Maudie clearly blames Mr. Radley for Boo’s seclusion and withdrawal from the world. Like Miss Maudie, Atticus does not view Boo Radley as some kind of monster, and he does not believe any of the rumors either. He says that what Boo does may seem peculiar to the children but it does not seem peculiar to him. He admonishes the children for tormenting the man and demands that they treat him like a normal person and respect his privacy: “If he want[s] to stay inside his own house he [has] the right to stay inside free from the attentions of inquisitive children….” Miss Maudie and Atticus are two of the few people in town who see Boo Radley as a human being instead of a monster.
How do Jem and Dill plan to send a note to Boo Radley? What does the note say?According to Dill, what is their reason for sending the note? They plan to attach the note to the end of a fishing pole and stick it through the shutters of the Radley house. According to Dill, the note politely asks Boo to come out and tell the children what he does in his house all day. The note also says that the children will not hurt him and that they will buy him an ice cream. Dill says the note was his idea: “I figure if he’d come out and sit a spell with us he might feel better.”

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