In To Kill a Mockingbird, how, in chapter 24, do we see Aunt Alexandra in a new light?I think Miss Maudie supports her in this.

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missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 24, Aunt Alexandra hosts a Missionary Society Tea. She is true to form in all her Maycomb proclivities except for how she feels about Atticus. Usually, she (like other Maycomb citizens) wants to see him stay out of the racial mess taking place between blacks and whites. But as she wonders around the guests at their event, woman after woman gossips about how their black servants are sulking. Alexandra grows sensitive about her brother and the work that he does to repair the humanity in this community.

Someone made a comment about Atticus without using his name stating that he thought he was doing the right thing, but he just stirred up the black community. Maudie made a comment:

"His food doesn't stick going down, does it?"

She meant that Atticus wasn't guilty. Scout goes on to narrate:

When Miss Maudie was angry her brevity was icy.

Something had made her deeply angry, and her gray eyes were as cold as her voice. Mrs. Merriweather reddened, glanced at me, and looked away. I could not see Mrs. Farrow.

Aunt Alexandra got up from the table and swiftly passed more refreshments, neatly engaging Mrs. Merriweather and Mrs. Gates in brisk conversation. When she had them well on the road with Mrs. Perkins, Aunt Alexandra stepped back. She gave Miss Maudie a look of pure gratitude, and I wondered at the world of women. Miss Maudie and Aunt Alexandra had never been especially close, and here was Aunty silently thanking her for something.

Here, Aunt Alexandra thanked Maudie for sticking up for Atticus through gestures. Alexandra and Maudie rarely saw eye to eye when it came to Atticus.

Then moments later, Atticus comes home and reveals Tom's death to Maudie, Alexandra and Cal. Maudie support Alexandra as once again, we see her hurt by what the town does to Atticus. Instead of fighting against him, she is supportive of Atticus. Up until this chapter, we never saw this side of Alexandra:

I thought Aunt Alexandra was crying, but when she took her hands away from her face, she was not. She looked weary. She spoke, and her voice was flat.

"I can't say I approve of everything he does, Maudie, but he's my brother, and I just want to know when this will ever end." Her voice rose: "It tears him to pieces. He doesn't show it much, but it tears him to pieces. I've seen him when-what else do they want from him, Maudie, what else?"

"What does who want, Alexandra?" Miss Maudie asked.

"I mean this town. They're perfectly willing to let him do what they're too af raid to do themselves-it might lose 'em a nickel. They're perfectly willing to let him wreck his health doing what they're afraid to do, they're-"

"Be quiet, they'll hear you," said Miss Maudle. "Have you ever thought of it this way, Alexandra? Whether Maycomb knows it or not, we're paying the highest tribute we can pay a man. We trust him to do right. It's that simple."

danlei | Student

Thank you so much!

My mistake, I meant chapter 25, not chapter 24.

Hope this clears up some confusion to future readers...

coreywhite9171 | Student

mine says it is 24 too haha

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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