Is Aunt Alexandra important in 'To Kill A Mockingbird'? .

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Yes!  Without her, Scout and Jem would not be able to put into perspective their place in the world.  She helps them fit the puzzle pieces together...she acts as the buffer between right and wrong, what one wants to do and what one should do, and she is not always the best example or role model.  She provides for many learning experiences, for Scout especially.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Aunt Alexandra plays a vital role in this story, as do all of Lee's charactersAtticus is an uncoventional person and parent.  He believes in understanding the viewpoints of others and in remaining true to your own sense of individuality.  However, this viewpoint is not championed by society, which always wants citizens to fall into certain "roles."  Everything moves smoothly if you accept your role and act accordingly - that way, everyone else knows how to treat you and what to think about you. 

Aunt Alexandra adheres to these rules in society.  She provides Scout with a contrasting manner of behavior, so that Scout can compare Alexandra and Atticus and come to her own decision about how to act and what rules to follow.  For example, Atticus is happy to let Scout wear what she wants.  Alexandra believes she should dress like a young lady.  It will be up to Scout to decide which belief will best suit her. 

The other important point of this character is that Alexandra is dynamic.  Scout puts Alexandra into the role of bossy and opinionated, and thinks that Alexandra is just plain unfair.  However, as Scout has been learning, you should never judge anyone before walking in his shoes.  At the tea party, Scout learns that she has underestimated her aunt, who is intelligent and compassionate.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial