How does Calpurnia teach Scout respect in To Kill a Mockingbird?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

At the beginning of Chapter 3, Jem stops Scout from beating up Walter Cunningham Jr. and then invites him over for dinner. In the middle of dinner, Walter asks for molasses and proceeds to pour the syrup all over his meat and vegetables. Scout is utterly disgusted and asks Walter what the "sam hill" he is doing. Walter immediately puts the saucer down because he feels embarrassed, and Atticus shakes his head at Scout. Scout continues to protest about Walter's eating habits until Calpurnia summons her to the kitchen.

Once Scout is in the kitchen with Calpurnia, Calpurnia reprimands Scout for her behavior. Calpurnia tells Scout that there are some people who don't eat like them, but that doesn't give Scout the right to contradict them. Calpurnia then explains to Scout that anybody who steps foot in their home is considered "company." Cal says,

"...don't you let me catch you remarkin' on their ways like you was so high and mighty! Yo' folks might be better'n the Cunninghams but it don't count for nothin' the way you're disgracing' 'em" (Lee 17).

Calpurnia's conversation with Scout about how she should act towards her company is one example of how Cal teaches Scout respect in the novel.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial