How does Atticus feel when he delivers his lecture to Scout and Jem about their family's "gentle breeding"?  

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mrwickline | High School Teacher | In Training Educator

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Aunt Alexandra moves into the Finch household at the beginning of Chapter 13. Alexandra feels that is necessary to teach Jem and Scout about their family’s history in order to instill a sense of pride in them. Atticus feels the opposite of Alexandra and could care less about their family history. After Alexandra hears about the funny story of Cousin Joshua Atticus told the children, she confronts him about teaching the children properly about their heritage. Atticus says,

“Your aunt has asked me to try and impress upon you and Jean Louise that you are not from run-of-the-mill people, that you are the product of several generations’ gentle breeding---.” (13.177)

Atticus tries his best to act serious when he begins his lecture to Jem and Scout, but feels awkward and uneasy. When Scout tears up because he is acting strange and unlike himself, Atticus tells the children to forget it. Atticus thinks it’s stupid to worry so much about impressing the family’s history upon the children at such a young age. They ask him if he wants them to remember everything the Finches are supposed to do, and Atticus tells them to forget it.

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