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In "To Kill a Mockingbird" what is the physical appearance of Calpurnia?  

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meamea | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 17, 2009 at 7:51 AM via web

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In "To Kill a Mockingbird" what is the physical appearance of Calpurnia?


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mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 17, 2009 at 9:28 AM (Answer #1)

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The answer to this question can be found in the first chapter of the book, a few pages in, when Scout describes Calpurnia in detail.  Cal is like a mother to Scout, because her mother died when she was too young to remember it.  And, she and Cal have a love/hate relationship--Scout feels like Cal bullies her and pushes her too hard, and gives her too much tough love; however, she is fully aware that Cal loves her, and is responsible for her safety and thriving.  She describes Cal's appearance as such:

"She was all angles and bones;...she squinted; her hand was wide as a bed slat and twice as hard."

From this we get the impression that Calpurnia was a very skinny bony woman with big hands, who wasn't afraid to discipline with swats or spankings when necessary.  She squinted because she was nearsighted, so overall, it gives a very interesting image of Cal.  I hope that helps a bit; good luck!

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

Posted December 31, 2014 at 10:18 PM (Answer #3)

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Cal is like a mother to her and she is an African American who works for the Finches. However, it never feels like she is a servant because the family is close. Scout feels as if Cal pushes her too much at times though. Cal was a skinny woman yet she had big hands.

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