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Lee writes "against the fence, in a line, were six chipped enamel slop jars holding brilliant red geraniums, cared for as tenderly as if they belonged to Miss Maudie Atkinson" (pp. 170-171). What do the flowers tell us about their keeper?

 

ben p #260095
Jul 29, 2012 11:24 PM

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Lee writes "against the fence, in a line, were six chipped enamel slop jars holding brilliant red geraniums, cared for as tenderly as if they belonged to Miss Maudie Atkinson" (pp. 170-171). What do the flowers tell us about their keeper?
 

Aslan
Jul 29, 2012 11:36 PM

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Although Mayella’s refusal to tell the truth on the witness stand ultimately brings about Tom’s death, we do have to have some sympathy for her. As humans, we are a product of our environment and Mayella’s environment is not pretty. She has an alcoholic, abusive, racist father. Her mother is dead, leaving her to raise her siblings. They are beyond poor and uneducated. Yet we know that she is slightly different the rest of the clan: “One corner of the yard, though, bewildered Maycomb. Against the fence, in a line, were six chipped-enamel slop jars holding brilliant red geraniums, cared for as tenderly as if they had belonged to Miss Maudie Atkinson, had Miss Maudie deigned to permit a geranium on her premises. People said they were Mayella Ewell’s” (170). This shows us a side to Mayella that tells us she is human. There is some beauty inside of her that her father has not yet destroyed. The flowers amidst all the dirt and decay is a personification of something left of Mayella's soul.

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