How does Scout characterize the First Purchase cemetery?

3 Answers

bullgatortail's profile pic

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

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Unlike most graveyards, the one adjoining the First Purchase African Methodist Episcopal Church is "a happy cemetery" according to Scout. It was situated in the Quarters outside the southern city limits of Maycomb. The ground was of "brick-hard clay" and in the winter, bodies were covered with ice until the ground softened. The only tombstones were old and "crumbling"; the newer graves were decorated with colored glass and Coca-Cola bottles. Lightning rods stood by some graves by their superstitious relatives, and burned candles marked many of the infants' final resting places.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This can be found in Chapter 12.  Scout sees the cemetery when Atticus has to go to Montgomery.  He leaves Scout and Jem with Calpurnia.  They go with her to her church, the First Purchase African ME Church.

Overall, Scout describes the cemetery as a "happy cemetery."  I think that she says this because it has so many different kinds of things that show that it is much-visited.  The graves of babies have burned down candles in front of them.  The newer graves were outlined in colored glass taken from broken soda bottles.

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gmuss25 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Chapter 12, Atticus leaves for Montgomery and Calpurnia takes Jem and Scout to her African-American church. When they arrive at First Purchase African M.E. Church, Scout describes the appearance of the church and comments on its surroundings. Scout mentions that the church was an old building with paint peeling on the outside. She then comments on the cemetery that is located next to the church. Scout characterizes the graveyard as a "happy" cemetery. She mentions that a few graves were marked with crumbling gravestones and the other graves were outlined with brightly colored glass from broken Coca-Cola bottles. There were also lighting rods sticking out of some of the graves as well as stumps of candles standing at the heads of infant graves. Scout finds the atmosphere of the cemetery to be pleasant and enjoys its appearance. 

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