How does Scout and Aunt Alexandra's relationship develop in To Kill A Mockingbird?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scout and Aunt Alexandra continually disagree throughout the novel and initially view each other with contempt. Aunt Alexandra disapproves of Scout's "tomboy" persona, and Scout mentions that Alexandra views her as being dull and boring. Scout opposes Alexandra's beliefs on how females should act, and refuses to wear a dress and stay indoors. After Alexandra moves into the Finch household, she has several disagreements with Atticus regarding Cal's job and Atticus' parenting style. However, Scout begins to perceive Alexandra's softer side following the disappointing trial of Tom Robinson.

Alexandra expresses her concern and support for Atticus, which Scout finds surprising and pleasant. Although Scout still disagrees with Alexandra on topics such as heredity and social class, Alexandra no longer criticizes Scout for her lifestyle. Scout agrees to participate in the missionary circle and witnesses Alexandra's empathy for her brother after Atticus tells her that Tom Robinson was shot dead trying to escape from the prison yard.

In Chapter 28, following Bob Ewell's attack, Alexandra is quick to care for Scout and helps Scout get out of her crushed costume. Alexandra continually asks Scout if she is alright, and refers to Scout as "darling." In the midst of the helping Scout, Alexandra brings over Scout's overalls, which are "the garments she most despised" (Lee 354).

As Scout grows older, she notices that Alexandra is not her enemy and that her aunt simply wants what it is best for her. Alexandra becomes less controlling because she realizes Atticus is under a lot of stress, and her concerns are not as important as the difficult situation at hand. Scout begins to have an open mind about becoming a "lady," and Alexandra displays her love for her niece after the tragic event at the end of the novel.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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