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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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