In Chapter 1 of To Kill a Mockingbird, what do we learn about the relationship between Scout and Calpurnia?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The relationship between Scout and Calpurnia is a rocky one at the beginning of To Kill a Mockingbird. Calpurnia is the Finch's African-Amerian housekeeper, and she has the full support of Atticus in matters of discipline and nurturing.

Calpurnia was something else again... Our battles were epic and one-sided. Calpurnia always won, mainly because Atticus always took her side.

Calpurnia has been with the Finch family since Jem's birth and serves as a mother figure for the children. Scout thinks that Cal picks on her more than Jem: Scout is younger and Cal always questions why Scout can't behave like her brother. Cal apparently spanks Scout once in a while since Scout says that her hand "was wide as a bed slat and twice as hard." Atticus also gives her the discretion to "serve in his absence" if necessary. Cal keeps a close eye on the children, "ordering me out of the kitchen" and maintaining a calling distance in the neighborhood. But Scout is young--not yet six years old--and she will come to understand that Cal's behavior is always in their best interests.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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