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In To Kill a Mockingbird, what chapter does Calpurnia take Jem and Scout to her church?

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andrea4 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 30, 2009 at 2:16 PM via web

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In To Kill a Mockingbird, what chapter does Calpurnia take Jem and Scout to her church?

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Michael Foster | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted March 30, 2009 at 6:14 PM (Answer #1)

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Calpurnia takes Jem and Scout to her church in Chapter 12.  Atticus had gone to an emergency session of the state legistlaure, and so would be away from home for two weeks.

Calpurnia has some reservations about taking the two to her church, mainly because of behavior issues.  However, with promises to not embarrass her, the two attend the First Purchase African A.M.E. Church with Calpurnia.

There, Jem and Scout experience reverse discrimination for the first time.  Lula berates Calpurnia for bringing "white chillun" to a black church.  They have their church, we have ours," she states.    This is an example of the reinforcement of segregation from both sides of the race issue.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 22, 2014 at 5:49 PM (Answer #2)

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When Calpurnia takes the children to church with her, in addition to their experiencing racism "from the other side of the fence," the children perceive how protective the church members are of one another as Lulu sees the arrival of Jem and Scout as an invasion. Reverend Sykes also demonstrates his true Christian charity in not using his pulpit to rail against the injustices against Tom Robinson unlike some so-called preachers in contemporary times who have denounced America and certain groups of Americans.

Further, Jem and Scout are witness to the poverty of the church members who cannot afford songbooks; yet, they all find something to contribute to their "brother" and his family in need. Indeed, there is a love that permeates this humble church, a sense of Christian charity that is sadly lacking when, in a later chapter, Mrs. Merriweather has the temerity to derogate Atticus in his own home before his sister Alexandra, who is the hostess of the Missionary Tea, not to mention her demeaning comments about Maycomb's black community and her maid after this sanctimonious hypocrite has only finished talking about the wonderful missionary work done in Africa, yet she denegrates the African-Americans in her own town.


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zumba96 | Student, Grade 11 | TA | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted December 31, 2014 at 1:55 AM (Answer #3)

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They were taken to church in chapter 12 and within this time, they were exposed to more African Americans. When they entered the church they were met with a rude African American and Calpurnia changed her talk into one of "her people" even though she knew how to speak English very well. 

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