What are the advantages and disadvantages of being Aunt Alexandra in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Aunt Alexandra is not one of the more flattering characters in To Kill a Mockingbird. She is haughty and domineering, and she dominates her hen-pecked husband, Jimmy, who is rarely mentioned or seen. Alexandra inherited the Finch Landing homestead when brothers Atticus and Jack moved away, so she is apparently financially secure. She normally travels with a Negro chauffeur, and she prides herself on her family upbringing, clothing and high-handed manners. She has few motherly skills, and the children (as well as Atticus) seem to prefer Calpurnia's parenting abilities. Alexandra seems to enjoy her stay in Maycomb, and "Maycomb welcomed her." She finds the social life, with its parties and church gatherings, to her liking, and she fits in "as if she had always lived with us." Scout and Jem are barely able to tolerate her, and when she tries to convince Atticus to fire Calpurnia, he strongly rebukes her. However, late in the story, she shows some likable traits. She thanks Miss Maudie for defending her at the Missionary Circle tea, and sympathizes with Atticus following the Tom Robinson trial. She worries about Jem and Scout going to the Halloween banquet alone and blames herself when the children are attacked by Bob Ewell. She is genuinely kind to Scout afterward, calling her "darling" and laying out the clothing she detests most: Scout's overalls. 

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