In To kill A Mockingbird, what is discovered about Calpurnia in Chapter 12?

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gpane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In this chapter, Scout realises for the first time that Calpurnia has a life of her own, outside of her capacity as servant in the Finches' house, when she takes them to visit her own church. Through Scout, the reader too gets this first glimpse of the heart of the black community, where Calpurnia takes on a rather different identity. This is reflected in the way that she addresses the other black people at the church; she talks in a way that the children have never heard before. She is using her own idiom, among her own people. The children are quick to notice the difference. The whole episode of this visit is quite an eye-opener for Scout, as it reveals a side of Calpurnia that she had never even thought about before:

That Calpurnia led a modest double life never dawned on me. The idea that she had a separate existence outside our household was a novel one, to say nothing of her having command of two languages.

Scout and Jem are intrigued by their visit to Cal's church, and subsequently Scout is keen to go and visit Cal's house. However, she is forbidden to do so by her formidable Aunt Alexandra, who, as we learn at the end of this chapter, has come to stay with them.

Jyotsana | Student

When Calpurnia is with her friends in the church she acts and talks differently than she does with the Finches family.

amysor | Student

In Chapter 12, we learn that Calpurnia acts differently when shes with her friends than when she is with the Finches. With the finches, she talks very proper, super responsible, and obeys. At the church, she is very expressive, talks improper, and according to Scout "acts black". Before this point, you do not know much about Cal, except that she cleans and cook, more of the mother figure they are missing. You learn that she has a son and family, and she has a whole completly different life. This shocks Scout, and goes with one of the themes of the novel, things aren't always what they seem.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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