How does Alexandra view the people of Maycomb in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Scout's Aunt Alexandra decided to come and live with Atticus and his family during the second half of To Kill a Mockingbird. Although it may be true that "Maycomb welcomed her" and that it was "as if she had always lived with us," Alexandra didn't believe everyone was her equal. Her preoccupation with heredity was almost as strong as her gossip skills--she was nearly equal to Maycomb's leading gossip, Miss Stephanie Crawford. In Alexandra's mind, the Finches were at the top of Maycomb's social ladder--at least herself and Atticus. Finches were blessed with "gentle breeding." She believed that Scout needed a great many lessons in how to become a lady, and Alexandra was more than ready to volunteer her time. She believed that every family was blessed with certain Streak:

A Drinking Streak, a Gambling Streak, a Mean Streak, a Fussy Streak.

Alexandra also believed that "Fine Folks" were determined by heredity, 

... that the longer a family had been squatting on one piece of land the finer it was.

And then there were the poor families. Alexandra did not approve of Scout socializing with her classmate, Walter Cunningham Jr. He belonged to "the enormous and confusing tribe domiciled in the northern part of the county"--the Cunninghams from Old Sarum. Alexandra saw little difference between the Cunninghams and "the disgrace of Maycomb for three generations"--the Ewell family. To Alexandra, Walter Jr. was not fit to share his habits with Scout, since

"-...--he--is--trash, that's why..."  

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