How does Harper Lee present parent/child relationships in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jem and Scout's relationship with Atticus seems to be the strongest between parents and their children in all of To Kill a Mockingbird. None of the relationships seem to be normal, and even Jem and Scout have to deal with life without a mother. Atticus makes up for the loss of his wife, however, proving to be a strong role model while still allowing his children to think for themselves and learn from their own experiences. Dill's relationship with his parents is an unhappy one: He strongly desires their love and attention, but he is happiest when he spends the summers in Maycomb with his Aunt Rachel, close to Scout and Jem. Cousin Francis, Alexandra's grandchild, is spoiled and precocious, and his parents ditch him each Christmas with their mother. The Ewell children endure a terrible life in their shack by the dump, and Bob proves to be as bad a father as he is a man. Burris comes to school filthy and lice-ridden, while Mayella is so desirous of a friend that she clumsily tries to seduce the crippled Negro married man, Tom Robinson. Meanwhile, Dolphus Raymond's mixed race children are scorned by the town, but Jem assures Scout that "he's real good to those chillun--"

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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