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Simply put, Aunt Alexandra is obsessed by family heredity and past traditions, while Atticus seems to focus on the future. Aunt Alexandra believes in Fine Folks, Family Streaks and gentle breeding--all based on past behaviors and ancestry. She judges everyone she meets based on this criteria, and few of the people match up to her own high opinions of the Finch family, whose ancestors were the first to settle Maycomb County. Everyone else seems to fall short of the high esteem in which she holds the Finches. Meanwhile, Atticus brings up his children as a single parent, apparently with no intentions of remarrying; his children call him by his first name, and he gives them more independence than most parents allow. Atticus is a rare breed in Maycomb, exhibiting a progressive and liberal mindset that is virtually absent among the other townspeople. Atticus does observe the family's annual custom of spending Christmas at Finch's Landing, but this is more out of a family obligation--and to appease his sister--than tradition. Atticus recognizes that change is a progression of life, and he tries to teach his children to be open-and fair-minded toward all people--black and white.
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