In To Kill a Mockingbird, what is the difference between how First Purchase Church and the Ladies "Missionary Society" go about practicing their faith?

First Purchase Church members give sacrificially to help the Robinson family, which is in need. In contrast, the Ladies Missionary Society refuses to help Black people in the local community, sending their money to Africa instead. That way, they can exploit the local Black population by hiring them at low wages. First Purchase practices its faith genuinely, while the Missionary Society is hypocritical and self-serving.

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The members of First Purchase Church practice their faith by raising money to help people in need in their community, such as Tom Robinson's wife and children. The women of the Ladies Missionary Circle, however, practice their faith by sending their money to help Africans.

When Calpurnia takes Jem and Scout to First Purchase, the Reverend Sykes takes an offering, then counts it out and says it is not enough. He states he needs ten dollars for the Robinsons, and then says:

Alec, shut the doors. Nobody leaves here till we have ten dollars.

Although the parishioners are very poor, they painfully scrape up extra money until the entire ten dollars is collected. After church, Calpurnia explains that even though Tom is in jail and he and his wife Helen have children to support, white people refuse to hire Helen because of the accusation Tom raped a white woman.

Whether or not the women who won't hire Helen are part of the Ladies Missionary Society, this society is certainly not doing anything to help the local Black community. Instead, it concentrates on raising money to send to Africa. Rather than help the needy in their own town, where Black people live in poverty, the ladies complain about their Black servants being too uppity. They direct their faith and their money to those far away because that allows them to exploit the local Black population, hiring them for low wages and then saying how generous they are to give them work.

The members of First Purchase provide charity to those they know truly need help. The Ladies Missionary Society members are hypocritical because they ignore the needs around them for their own convenience and send their money abroad.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on

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