How does First Purchase church express To Kill a Mockingbird's themes of innocence, resistance, and courage?
We'll find that description of the church in Chapter 12, when Calpurnia is getting ready to take Scout and Jem with her to attend a service. After Scout's initial description of the building, she describes the furnishings inside:
The churchyard was brick-hard clay, as was the cemetery beside it. If someone died during a dry spell, the body was covered with chunks of ice until rain softened the earth. A few graves in the cemetery were marked with crumbling tombstones; newer ones were outlined with brightly colored glass and broken Coca-Cola bottles. Lightning rods guarding some graves denoted dead who rested uneasily; stumps of burned-out candles stood at the heads of infant graves. It was a happy cemetery.
The warm bittersweet smell of clean Negro welcomed us as we entered the churchyard — Hearts of Love hairdressing mingled with asafoetida, snuff, Hoyt’s Cologne, Brown’s Mule, peppermint, and lilac talcum. [...]
First Purchase was unceiled and unpainted within. Along its walls unlighted kerosene lamps hung on brass brackets; pine benches served as pews. Behind the rough oak pulpit a faded pink silk banner proclaimed God Is Love, the church’s only decoration except a rotogravure print of Hunt’s The Light of the World. There was no sign of piano, organ, hymn-books, church programs — the familiar ecclesiastical impedimenta we saw every Sunday. It was dim inside, with a damp coolness slowly dispelled by the gathering congregation. At each seat was a cheap cardboard fan bearing a garish Garden of Gethsemane, courtesy Tyndal’s Hardware Co. (You-Name-It-We-Sell-It).
The first thing you'll notice in Scout's description of the church is that it was literally purchased with the money that former slaves had earned. That makes the church itself a powerful symbol of Maycomb's black community's devotion to their faith.
To find evidence of the themes of courage and resistance , we'll have to look at the details of the church building itself. The building is old and in poor repair. The church is "ancient." The paint is peeling off of it. Inside, everything is rough, faded, and sparse. The yard is made of clay, not grass. Still, the interior is welcoming, inviting, full of the spirit of...
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