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Why does Aunt Alexandria not want Jem and Scout to go to church with Calpurnia and why...

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rbasmad | Student, College Freshman | eNoter

Posted March 16, 2011 at 2:26 AM via web

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Why does Aunt Alexandria not want Jem and Scout to go to church with Calpurnia and why does Aunt Alexandria want to fire Cal in To Kill a Mockingbird?

I am writing an essay and having trouble with one of my supporting facts.

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

Posted March 16, 2011 at 3:10 AM (Answer #1)

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It is primarily Aunt Alexandra's own racial bias and her belief that different social elements should not mix that fuels her sentiments in these two episodes. But she also believes that as the new female head of the Finch household (she has come to stay until the Tom Robinson trial is over), Calpurnia is no longer needed. Aunt Alexandra lectures Scout on how the Finches have been the object of "gentle breeding" through the years, and not everyone in Maycomb can make this claim, she says. Alexandra has never approved of Calpurnia spending so much time in the Finch house, and now that she has arrived from the landing to look after the kids, she sees no need for Calpurnia. Alexandra believes that she can handle the cooking (she is a good cook, Scout previously notes) and child-rearing herself. She also worries what the town will think when they find out that Jem and Scout--white children--have been attending the local all-black church. Atticus will not hear of his sister's suggestions, however, and he makes it clear that Calpurnia is a member of the family, too.

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sarakap3 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted March 16, 2011 at 5:49 AM (Answer #2)

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Aunt Alexandria is very concerned with the way her family is perceived. It is bad enough that Atticus is defending a black man, but having the Finch children at a black church will look even worse. Whereas Aunt Alexandria is not as morally corrupt as say, the Ewells, one could argue that she is more racist than Link Deas or Dolphus Raymond. Her other concern is that the children are raised properly, especially Scout. In the absence of a mother, Scout learns by example and the only female that she sees everyday is Cal. Cal is a wonderful caretaker for the children, however, she is black. A black woman could not, in Aunt Alexandra's view, raise a white girl as well as she could. She feels that now that she is there, there is no need for Calpurnia.

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