From To Kill a Mockingbird How can I write a eulogy to Atticus coming from Calpurnia?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Whenever a student is asked to further a narrative with words from one of the characters, it is best to stay within the characterization delineated by the author. That is, examine the thoughts, feelings, speech, and actions of this character as they have already been presented.

  • Calpurnia has acted as a parent to Jem and Scout, and she loves them very much.
  • She disciplines the children and has taught Scout how to write cursive.
  • She has probably overheard Atticus defending her to Alexandra as "a loyal member of this family" when his sister suggests that now that she is there, Calpurnia is no longer needed.
  • She has also probably overheard Atticus when he talks with his children, when he speaks to his neighbors, and when he discusses some of his business on the phone.
  • She has certainly overheard others in town as they have discussed the Tom Robinson trial, and she has witnessed Atticus's kindness in visiting Helen Robinson.
  • She has probably heard how Atticus has defended Tom Robinson at the jail.  

So, in composing a eulogy for Atticus, Calpurnia, who has been a loyal member of the family, would express her love and respect for Atticus, praising him as a wise man, a loving father, a kind and thoughtful man who has always treated everyone fairly and equally. (Here she would cite some anecdotes about him.) She might add that he has always practiced what he taught his children; namely, to "climb into another's skin and walk around in it" and not to "kill a mockingbird," anyone who means no one harm. She might finish by saying that although hers is another world from that of Atticus Finch, he always made her feel welcome in his.           

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