Study Guide

Grace Merriweather in To Kill a Mockingbird

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Grace Merriweather

A heavily religious woman, Mrs. Grace Merriweather is "the most devout lady in Maycomb" (24.25). We know she's devout, because she's intent on saving (as in, converting) the Mrunas, an imaginary African tribe—or at least to talking up their white savior, J. Grimes Everett. She's also committed to making sure her African-American servants live Christian lives.

"Gertrude, I tell you there's nothing more distracting than a sulky darky. Their mouths go down to here. Just ruins your day to have one of 'em in the kitchen. You know what I said to my Sophy, Gertrude? I said, 'Sophy,' I said, 'you simply are not being a Christian today. Jesus Christ never went around grumbling and complaining,' and you know, it did her good. She took her eyes off that floor and said, 'Nome, Miz Merriweather, Jesus never went around grumblin'.' I tell you, Gertrude, you never ought to let an opportunity go by to witness for the Lord." (24.43)

What's that? You're saying that Jesus also never went around telling people to stop acting so cranky because it gets on His nerves? Yeah. That part seems to have escaped Mrs. Merriweather, as does the idea that kindness begins at home. If she devoted all the energy she currently spends on J. Grimes Everett and his far-off Mrunas on being considerate of the less-fortunate closer to home, Maycomb might be a better place. (We're thinking Lee may have read herself some Charles Dickens.)

Mrs. Merriweather also conceives, writes, directs, produces, narrates, and stars in the school's Halloween pageant, and doesn't forget to tell Scout afterwards that she ruined it all by making her entrance late. It seems her lack of sympathy isn't limited to her African-American servants.

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