How does Calpurnia feel when Scout starts school?

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davmor1973 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Calpurnia's relationship to Scout is somewhat ambiguous. On the one hand, Calpurnia is a strong character, a mother figure to Scout—something Scout very much needs in her life. At the same time, Calpurnia can be quite a forbidding woman, a cantankerous force of nature who can put the fear of God into you. Calpurnia is keen to take Scout in hand and instill some much-needed wisdom in her, even if Scout doesn't always appreciate her efforts. But Scout is too young to understand the importance of establishing boundaries. Sometimes it just seems to her as if Calpurnia is always on her case about something or other.

But there is no doubt that there's a bond of affection between Scout and Calpurnia. Calpurnia feels like a mother towards Scout and cares very deeply about her welfare, always wanting to make sure she grows up with a good set of morals. And although she and Scout have their occasional run-ins, Calpurnia does like to have the little girl about the place. So when Scout starts school, Calpurnia gets more than a little lonely. In one of her occasional moments of tenderness towards Scout, Calpurnia tells her this:

"I missed you today," she said. "The house got so lonesome 'long about two o'clock I had to turn on the radio."

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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