In To Kill A Mockingbird, how are female characters represented in the absence of Mrs. Finch?

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Scout is a tomboy. She wears overalls and plays with the boys. Scout spends much of her time playing with Jem and Dill. She tries to prove herself equal to the boys. She is rough and tough. She gets in fist fights. She does not act very lady like. She does not think before she acts. She insults the Cunningham boy while he is eating lunch with them. Calpurnia scolds Scout and Scout pouts and thinks she hates Calpurnia at that moment.   

Calpurnia is the housekeeper and caregiver to the Finches. She acts as a mother to Jem and Scout. She is a strict disciplinarian. She also has the support of Atticus Finch who considers Calpurnia family:

One of several strong female figures in the lives of the Finch children, Calpurnia is the family's black housekeeper. She has helped to raise Jem and Scout since their mother's death four years ago. Like Atticus, Calpurnia is a strict but loving teacher, particularly in regard to Scout, whose enthusiasm sometimes makes her thoughtless.

Aunt Alexandra is a conservative type woman. She has parties and insists that Scout dress and behave like a young lady. Scout does not approve of Aunt Alexandra. As Atticus's sister, Aunt Alexandra is concerned with social and class distinctions:

Alexandra Finch Hancock is a conservative woman concerned with social and class distinctions and bound to the traditions of the South.

Aunt Alexandra tries to turn Scout into a lady. She does not approve of her brother's liberal influence on his children. She constantly tells Atticus that he is too liberal with the children and that Scout is going to be ruined by his influence. 

Miss Maudie is very close to Jem and Scout. She treats them with respect. She tries to answer their questions respectfully:

Maudie Atkinson is a strong, supportive woman who lives across the street from the Finches. A forthright speaker, she never condescends to Jem and Scout, but speaks to them as equals.

Miss Maudie has an impish street. She quotes scripture to the self righteous neighbors who consider her colorful flower garden sinful. Scout depends on Miss Maudie to explain things to her. 

Scout considers the above women to be an important part of her life. Although she gets upset with Calpurnia, she deeply respects her as a role model in her life. Scout has little patients with Aunt Alexandra, but she depends on Miss Maudie for answers to life's difficult questions. 


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