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To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird


by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird Grace Merriweather Quotes

"Oh child, those poor Mrunas," she said, and was off. Few other questions would be necessary.

Mrs. Merriweather's large brown eyes always filled with tears when she considered the oppressed. "Living in that jungle with nobody but J. Grimes Everett," she said. "Not a white person'll go near 'em but that saintly J. Grimes Everett."

Mrs. Merriweather played her voice like an organ; every word she said received its full measure: "The poverty... the darkness... the immorality—nobody but J. Grimes Everett knows." (24.26-28)

Oh, sure—feel sorry for the poor "oppressed" Mruna, but not poor oppressed maid Sophy. While Mrs. Merriweather may talk about compassion, and believe that she herself is a compassionate person, actions suggest otherwise. It's easy to feel compassion in the abstract, but living it is much more difficult.

"There's one thing I truly believe, Gertrude," she continued, "but some people just don't see it my way. If we just let them know we forgive 'em, that we've forgotten it, then this whole thing'll blow over." (24.40)

While Atticus talks about seeing things through other people's eyes, Mrs. Merriweather is more concerned with people seeing it through her eyes. (Or trying on her skin. Ew.) Her insistence that the African-Americans need to be forgiven (for what?) shows that Mrs. Merriweather's compassion is so one-sided as to be hardly compassionate at all.