In Chapter 13 of To Kill a Mockingbird, how do you think that Harper Lee wants the reader to view Aunt Alexandra, and how does Atticus view her?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus's sister Alexandra is bossy, gossipy, and always exudes an air of self-importance.

Maycomb welcomed her.

She quickly made herself at home, and Scout got the idea that it was not Atticus who had invited her to come and stay, but Alexandra.

Aunt Alexandra seemed as if she had always lived with us.

She is obsessed with family heritage, and she believes the Finch family ranks above all others. Scout does not live up to her expectations, however, and Alexandra hopes to change Scout's tomboyish ways. It is clear that she has been talking with Atticus in private about her intentions, because Atticus soon initiates a talk with his children about "gentle breeding"--one of Alexandra's favorite family topics. But when Scout became bored with Atticus's lecture, he soon snapped at her.

His curtness stung me... For no reason I felt my self beginning to cry, but I could not stop. This was not my father. My father never thought these thoughts. My father never spoke so. Alexandra had put him up to this somehow.

And Scout was right. Atticus's heart was not in it, and he saw that his little talk was upsetting his children. Instead of telling Jem and Scout to remember what he had told them, he said, "Forget it." 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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