How is Aunt Alexandra different in Part One and Part Two of the book?

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mrshh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Part One of To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout does not see her aunt much.  She views her as a distant person.  Aunt Alexandra rarely comes to visit Scout and her family in Maycomb.  Scout reveals how she feels about Aunt Alexandra:

... throughout my early life, she was cold and there (Chapter 9).

Aunt Alexandra is portrayed as being strict, critical, and full of unwanted advice in Part One.  She is concerned that Scout is not ladylike:

Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on the subject of my attire.  I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches; when I said I could do nothing in a dress, she said I wasn't supposed to be doing things that required pants.  Aunt Alexandra's vision of my deportment involved playing with small stoves, tea sets, and wearing the Add-A-Pearl necklace she gave me when I was born; furthermore, I should be a ray of sunshine in my father’s lonely life.

Chapter 12 is the first chapter in Part Two.  Aunt Alexandra's presence increases dramatically in Part Two.  In Chapter 12, Scout and Jem come home to find their aunt sitting on the porch.  

Scout and Jem soon find out that Aunt Alexandra is moving into their house.  She is going to stay throughout the trial.  Scout begins to see Aunt Alexandra as a person with feelings and more warmth than she knew before.  She is still strict and serious but Scout begins to understand her aunt.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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