Calpurnia lectures Scout on manners when Scout criticizes Walter's manners and Atticus supports her.What does this tell you about how both Calpurnia and Atticus feel about others?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Calpurnia occasionally expresses her opinions about people and things in Maycomb in To Kill a Mockingbird, but she knows where to draw the line as far as old fashioned manners are concerned. Calpurnia may not think highly of old Mr. Radley, and she plainly says so--but not to his face nor inside the Finch house. When Scout ridicules young Walter after inviting him for lunch, Calpurnia spells it out plainly for Scout.

"Don't matter who they are, anybody sets foot in this house's yo' company, and don't you let me catch you remarkin' on their ways like you was so high and mighty!"

Calpurnia has had to deal with the problems of being a black woman in the white world of Maycomb, and she recognizes the different classes of people there, but she--like Atticus--treats all people like there is only one kind of people. She tries to show Jem and Scout the expected ways of behavior for proper ladies and gentlemen in true Victorian / Deep South fashion. She is, above all else, the woman of the Finch household. Atticus obviously approves of her methods, since he defends her right as a part of the family to Aunt Alexandra, and allows her the powers of surrogate mother to his children. It is obvious that Atticus is blind to both class and color barriers, since he treats everyone equally.

engtchr5 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Both Atticus and Calpurnia are trying to teach Scout that is impolite to criticize the manners (or lack thereof) possessed by others. In this scene, her guest is Walter Cunningham, the poor son of an event dirt-poorer father. This is the same man who pays Atticus in hickory nuts for his services due to a lack of actual monetary capital.

When Walter pours syrup all over his food, Atticus and Calpurnia both recognize that Walter has no such luxuries at his home, and simply ignore the behavior as an expected consequence of poverty. Scout, however, makes quite the scene: "What in the sam hill are you doing?" she asks him in the movie version of the novel. Calpurnia takes Scout aside in the kitchen and informs her that Walter is her guest, and that "..if he wants to eat the tablecloth off that table, you let him (paraphrase)." Atticus reinforces this point, though not quite so verbally. The scene is one that shows Scout to still be a child, developing behaviors and manners that are considered socially appropriate for this era. 

mkcapen1 | Student

In the book "To Kill a Mockingbird" Jem and Scout bring Walter home for lunch.  He pours syrup all over his food and Scout makes a rude comment about it.  Calpurnia calls her in the kitchen and scolds her.  Scout is very angry and tattles on Calpurnia to her father.

Calpurnia is very respectful of other people's feelings.  She wants Scout to grow up being respectful as well.

Atticus has a great deal of respect for others as well.  He is a good listener but he supports Calpurnia in her discipline of Scout.

djc2015 | Student

This book doesn't really state what they think about each other but I feel that they think of each other nice and kind because of the fact that Atticus lets Scout take care of the kids.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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