Explain the advantages and disadvantages, from Scout's point of view, of her Aunt's coming to stay in Maycomb.  

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kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Aunt Alexandra arrives in Chapter 13, Scout hopes she has just come for ‘a visit’. Scout sees a diffrent side of the Finch family: a situation which has both positive and negative lessons for Scout. She learns what Southern societyis like for women, which helps Scout to realise that she is different from her aunt and others like her.

There is an obvious acknowledgement of difference by Scout as she describes Aunt Alexandra’s car as –

Kept in an unhealthy state of tidiness

When the visit is clearly longer than Scout had anticipated, and she is unimpressed with the imposition-

 Aunty had a way of declaring What Is Best For The Family, and I suppose her coming to live with us was in that category.

It is clear, however, that Scout does admire some of Aunt Alexandra’s qualities-

She was never bored,

Also it is interesting for Scout to see how the ladies of Maycomb do behave, even if she decides to reject their principles.

Scout shares Aunt Alexandra’s appreciation for the history of Maycomb society, but is not like the rest of the Finches-

 Aunt Alexandra fitted into the world of Maycomb like a hand into a glove, but never into the world of Jem and me.

Scout appreciates family, but not Alexandra’s snobbish ideals of ‘good breeding’. Aunt Alexandra’s prejudice helps Scout see that bias is a decision not a genetic predisposition. She does see later that this gives Alexandra the capacity to stick by her brother Atticus though she does not approve of him defending Tom Robinson.

Aunt Alexandra also shows sensitivity when Boo Radley comes to visit after the attack by Bob Ewell. She welcomes Boo in with respect and concern. She too is able to see the other side to people, as Scout learns to do.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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