Why has Aunt Alexandra come to stay with the Finch family in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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

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Atticus's sister, Alexandra Hancock, makes her surprise "visit" to the Finches just prior to the beginning of the Tom Robinson trial. After she arrived,

I heard the suitcase hit the bedroom floor with a thump. The sound had a dull permanence about it.

Her appearance was news to Jem and Scout, and Aunt Alexandra told Scout that

"... your father and I decided it was time I came to stay with you for a while."
     "For a while" in Maycomb meant anything from three days to thirty years.

Indeed, Alexandra never departs the Finch household, leaving her husband, Jimmy, behind at Finch's Landing. The decision to come appears to be Alexandra's alone, despite assurances from Atticus that his sister was doing him a favor. He would be much busier attending to the trial, so it can be assumed that this was the reasoning behind his sister's visit. Alexandra believes the children needs a feminine touch in the house, and that Scout in particular needs training in how to become a lady. Alexandra obviously tries to bully her brother into her way of thinking, but Atticus stands firm when Alexandra tries to have Calpurnia fired.


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