Discuss the tensions that develop when Scout asks Atticus if she can visit Calpurnia's home.  

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 12, Calpurnia takes Jem and Scout to First Purchase African M. E. Church for Sunday service. Scout has a wonderful time and gains insight into Calpurnia's life. Scout asks Calpurnia if she can visit her home, and Cal kindly tells Scout that she is welcome. At the beginning of Chapter 13, Aunt Alexandra is waiting on their front porch and tells them that she will be staying with them for a while because Scout needs a feminine influence. In Chapter 14, Jem and Scout describe their experience at First Purchase and Scout mentions that Calpurnia invited her over to her house. Aunt Alexandra is appalled and tells Scout that she is certainly not allowed to go to Calpurnia's house. Scout sasses Alexandra and Atticus tells Scout to apologize. Scout says she's sorry and goes to the bathroom to gather herself. While she's in the bathroom, Scout overhears Alexandra arguing with Atticus. Alexandra tries to convince Atticus that Calpurnia is no longer needed, but Atticus defends Calpurnia. He tells his sister that Calpurnia is a tremendous help and that she has been a good influence on the children. When Scout returns from the bathroom, Jem leads Scout into his room and tells her to stop antagonizing Aunt Alexandra. Scout doesn't like Jem's "maddening superiority," and the two siblings engage in a physical altercation.

Alexandra's traditional, prejudiced feelings towards African Americans incite her argument with Atticus regarding Calpurnia's employment. Fortunately, Atticus is a morally upright individual and defends Cal's job. Jem and Scout even get into an altercation because of Scout's attitude after Alexandra tells Scout she is not allowed to go to Calpurnia's house.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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