To Kill a Mockingbird Questions and Answers
by Harper Lee

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In To Kill a Mockingbird, why does Aunt Alexandra come to stay with the Finches? What is she like?

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Adam Mangum eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Alexandra Finch Hancock is the aunt of the narrator, the young girl Scout, and the older sister of her father, Atticus Finch. She normally resides with her husband, James, at the Finch ancestral home in Finch's Landing. But at the beginning of chapter 13, she spontaneously arrives for an indefinite stay at the home of Atticus because she feels that the motherless, tomboyish Scout needs to have "some feminine influence."

As a busy, highly organized, and organizing woman, Aunt Alexandra quickly adapts to the social life of Maycomb. As Scout says, "given the slightest chance she would exercise her royal prerogative: she would arrange, advise, caution, and warn." She is preoccupied with heredity and social status and makes every effort to instill in Scout and her older brother Jem, the idea that they are the descendants of a noble clan and should act accordingly.

Throughout the rest of the book, Aunt Alexandra wages a subdued campaign to persuade Scout to abandon her tomboyish ways in favor of more feminine behavior, which the spirited narrator successfully resists. As Scout puts their relationship at the time, "Aunt Alexandra fitted into the world of Maycomb like a hand into a glove, but never into the world of Jem and me."

But as the story unfolds and the stakes for the family are raised, Scout comes to appreciate her aunt's strength and realizes how deeply she cares for Atticus and his two children.

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luannw eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Aunt Alexandra comes to stay with Atticus and the Finch children because of the Tom Robinson trial for the most part.  Atticus will be very busy during the trial and won't have time to take care of the kids even with Calpurnia's help.  Another reason she is there is because she feels she must do what she can to protect the children.  She knows that the trial may get ugly and she disagrees with Atticus's involvement anyway, so she thinks that she can shield the children from any ugliness that may occur.  She feels that she must be there, too, to protect the family name.  Aunt Alexandra believes that Atticus is raising the children incorrectly.  She sees him as being much too liberal with the children and she wants to counteract that.  She is a staunch conservative in all her views.  She feels that one's family background is more important than what one does and that is not how Atticus has raised Scout and Jem.  Ultimately, she loses this battle of child-rearing philosophies.  Her reasons for being there are varied and each reason reflects what kind of person she is.

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hjzhou | Student


yhudson95 | Student
What is she like
pakee10 | Student

she is like mount everest:cold and there

maggs52 | Student

I agree with luannw and afroman4073, but what is she like?

afroman4073 | Student

i think that what luannw said was completely correct but i think another reason was so that she could be with scout more and try to make her chang into a girl and to stop acting like a boy but luannw is correct