Discuss Cousin Joshua Finch as: A. Atticus describes him; B. Aunt Alexandra describes him. What’s the difference?
Discuss Cousin Joshua Finch as: A. Atticus describes him; B. Aunt Alexandra describes him. What’s the difference
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The Finch's cousin, Joshua S. St. Clair (not Joshua Finch as the previous poster noted), was a writer who was looked upon quite differently by Atticus and his sister, Alexandra. Trying to impress Jem and Scout about their illustrious family tree, Aunt Alexandra brought out their cousin's book, "stamped in gold." Obviously proud of her kin, she told the children that
"He was a beautiful character."
But Atticus had already told Jem and Scout about their cousin.
Jem examined the small volume. "Is this the Cousin Joshua who was locked up for so long?"
When Alexandra protested, Jem went on to say that Atticus had told them that Joshua had "gone round the bend at the University. Tried to shoot the president." Atticus had called him "a sewer inspector," and recalled that "it cost the family five hundred dollars to get him out of that one--"
Aunt Alexandra was standing stiff as a stork. "That's all," she said. "We'll see about this."
Alexandra had a few choice words for her brother later, since he came back to sheepishly explain to Jem and Scout that they were the product of "gentle breeding."
Simply put, Alexandra was proud of Joshua for having written a book--albeit a small and insignificant one. Atticus was more realistic: Joshua was an inept, would-be murderer who was possibly mentally unstable.
Joshua Finch according to Aunt Alexandra was a fine man. Jem is quite surprised because he knew the man had been locked up. Aunt Alexandra likes to give the family heritage a boost.
Atticus describes him as "having gone round the bed at the University."(132) He told Jem that Joshua had actually tried to shoot the president of the college. He had indicated that the man was a sewer inspector and had tried to shoot him with an old pistol. However, the pistol had blown up in Joshua's hand instead. The family had had to pay five hundred dollars to get the man out of trouble.
The difference is that Aunt Alexandra likes to tell the good about Joshua but Atticus explains the truth that he was not really a man to be proud of.
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