According to Aunt Alexandra in Chapter 9 of To Kill a Mockingbird, did Atticus raise Scout well?  Explain.

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Alexandra never offers her opinion about how Atticus raises his children in Chapter 9 of To Kill a Mockingbird, though she has more to say about this in Part Two of the novel. However, Alexandra's obnoxious grandson, Francis, is quick to point out all of the shortcomings of Atticus' family--opinions that he has picked up from Alexandra. We learn from cousin Francis that Alexandra has doubts about how Jem and Scout will turn out without a female presence in the household. Scout tells us that

     Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on the subject of my attire...
     It had something to do with my going around in overalls.

Once, after Alexandra had brought up the subject, Atticus sharply replied that

"Sister, I do the best that I can with them!"

Alexandra was worried that Scout would never become a lady, telling her

... that I was born good but had grown progressively worse every year.

Scout's feelings were hurt, but Atticus told her to ignore Alexandra's harsh words. We learn more about what Alexandra thinks from Francis when he tells Scout that

"Atticus lets you run around with stray dogs... so it ain't your fault. I guess it ain't your fault if Atticus is a nigger-lover besides, but I'm here to tell you it certainly does mortify the rest of the family--"

Francis goes on to say that Alexandra believes that Atticus lets Jem and Scout "run wild," and that

"He's ruinin' the family, that's what he's doin'."

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 9, Francis Hancock reiterates Aunt Alexandra's negative comments concerning Atticus's parenting abilities, which indicate that she believes he is not raising his children properly. Scout also mentions that her aunt was fanatical on the subject of her attire and believed that it was unladylike for her to be wearing overalls. Scout also says that the only time she ever heard Atticus speak sharply to anyone was when he told Alexandra, "Sister, I do the best I can with them!" (83) Aunt Alexandra also expresses her displeasure with Scout's personality by telling her that she was born good "but had grown progressively worse every year."

Francis Hancock, Alexandra's grandson, reiterates Alexandra's comments concerning Atticus's parenting skills to Scout. Francis tells her,

"If Uncle Atticus lets you run around with stray dogs, that’s his own business, like Grandma says, so it ain’t your fault." (85)

Francis also goes on to mention that Alexandra thinks it's bad enough that Atticus lets his children run wild but also believes that he's ruining the family by defending a black person. Overall, Aunt Alexandra disagrees with Atticus's parenting style and is highly critical of him. Later on in the novel, Alexandra moves into the Finch residence and argues with her brother more about how he is raising Jem and Scout.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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