In To Kill a Mockingbird, the author, Harper Lee, uses her unique characters to create a story based on racism and segregation. The book takes place in a small, southern town known as Maycomb, Alabama, during the Great Depression. The story is being told through the eyes of Jean Louise Finch. Jean Louise’s father, an attorney, has been chosen to defend an African-American man named Tom Robinson, who is wrongly accused and convicted of raping a white woman. The author of To Kill a Mockingbird thoroughly characterizes each character, including Miss Stephanie Crawford, who is known as the town gossip. Throughout the book, the reader learns how Harper Lee characterizes Stephanie Crawford as gregarious, but deceiving and indiscreet.
All through To Kill a Mockingbird, a major trait to Miss Stephanie Crawford’s personality is her sociable attitude. However, her methods of interacting and spreading information may not always be perceived as amiable. For example, Miss Stephanie Crawford uses her socialization abilities to manipulate people into giving her information. Scout claims, “Jem received most of his information from Miss Stephanie Crawford, a neighborhood scold, who said she knew the whole thing”(11). Stephanie Crawford is cordial as she supplies the children, Scout and Jem, with facts and rumors about the people of Maycomb, including the Radley family. An example of this is when Miss Crawford is the first to tell Scout and Jem, “Mr. Radley shot a Negro in his collard patch”(61). Although she is persistent to receive information from others, she is popular throughout Maycomb for her pleasing and well known stories. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout describes one of stories by saying, “According to Miss Stephanie, Boo was sitting in the living room cutting some items from The Maycomb Tribune to paste in his scrapbook. His father entered the room.
As Mr. Radley passed by, Boo drove his scissors into his parent’s leg”(12). Because of her talkative and curious personality, Scout explains how “Miss Stephanie’s nose quivered with curiosity. She wanted to know who gave us permission to go to court- she didn’t see us but it was all over town this morning that we were in the Colored balcony”(245). Miss Crawford believes that she deserves to know everything in Maycomb, even though she most likely was not involved in the situation. Miss Maudie, an old, friendly lady with a talent for gardening, tells Scout and Jem, “Miss Stephanie seemed to know so much about the case she might as well be called to testify”(182). Although Miss Stephanie Crawford is able to collect and spread information throughout the town, the facts she is giving may not always be the truth. Although Miss Stephanie Crawford portrays a talkative character, the people of Maycomb have learned that the information Miss Stephanie gives is unreliable. For instance, Miss Maudie explains, “That is three-fourths colored folks and one-fourth Stephanie Crawford,” said Miss Maudie grimly. “Stephanie Crawford even told me once she woke up in the middle of the night and found him looking at her”(50-51). In this quote, Miss Maudie is expressing to Scout one of Miss Stephanie’s usual fabrications. Although it is not mentioned whether Miss Crawford’s story was valid, the people in the town did not bother to believe her frivolous gossip.
Miss Stephanie Crawford embellishes her stories and makes them overdramatic. This is evident when Jem describes, “Miss Stephanie Crawford said she woke up in the middle of the night one time and saw him looking straight through the window at her… said his head was like a skull lookin’ at her”(13-14). Miss Stephanie is extremely deceitful and is willing to devise a lie to receive attention. Scout characterizes her as, “she had an acid tongue in her head, and she did not go about the neighborhood doing good, as did Miss Stephanie Crawford. But while no one with a grain of sense trusted Miss Stephanie, Jem and I had considerable faith in Miss Maudie ”(49-50). Through the narrative of Scout, the reader learns that Miss Stephanie is merely using her charisma as a cover for her gossipping. On the other hand, Miss Maudie did not always do good deeds, but from her not exhibiting hypocritical and racist behavior, Miss Maudie gave the people of Maycomb, including Scout and Jem, a reason to believe that she is considerably more trustworthy than Miss Stephanie. Over the course of To Kill a Mockingbird, it is evident that Miss Stephanie Crawford is infamous for gossiping. However, she uses her social personality to receive important information from others.
In Maycomb, she is known for her love of spreading information and malicious talk as Scout explains, “At that moment Aunt Alexandra came to the door and called us, but she was too late. It was Miss Stephanie’s pleasure to tell us”(247). Miss Stephanie was the first to tell the children about what Bob Ewell did to Atticus when he left the post office. She takes pride in informing people what she witnessed because Scout says, “Miss Stephanie (who, by the time she had told it twice was there and had seen it all)”(248). Although the people of Maycomb have learned that most of the time she is deceptive, Miss Stephanie Crawford continues to be determined to get the answers and facts she wants from others. Even if her motive to gain information is for her self worth, the narrator clarifies to the reader that, “Miss Stephanie Crawford’s tendency to mind other people’s business was hereditary”(147).
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