Things we can comment on about the way Calpurnia speaks and behaves in Chapter 3 of TKAM. Especially during the scene where Walter Cunningham has lunch at the Finch's household. I am really stuck...

Things we can comment on about the way Calpurnia speaks and behaves in Chapter 3 of TKAM. Especially during the scene where Walter Cunningham has lunch at the Finch's household. I am really stuck on things to comment on other than the obvious fact that she doesn't want Scout to be disrespectful to her guest..

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Perhaps proof of the role that Calpurnia plays in the Finch family is best found in Chapter 14 where Aunt Alexandra objects to the maid's strong presence in the Finch household. When she says to her brother, "You've let things go on too long, Atticus, too long...you have a daughter to think of," there are a few implications. Atticus answers these implications by telling his sister that he does not think that the children have suffered from having Calpurnia "bring them up" because she has been even harder on Scout and Jem than their mother might have been, and she has not let them "get away" with anything, nor has she "indulged them." But it is this motherly role to which Aunt Alexandra objects.

Now, returning to Chapter 3, the reader detects that what goes on with Calpurnia when Walter Cunningham comes to lunch correlates to what Atticus says later in Chapter 14. Calpurnia is much more than just a maid, but her actions are not overreaching because Atticus approves of her role as a substitute mother. In parental fashion, then, Calpurnia sends Scout away from the table into the kitchen to finish her meal. There, too, she pouts and later tells Calpurnia that she will "fix her" by going off and drowning herself in Barker's Eddy, a statement made to draw sympathy toward herself. But, Calpurnia is not fooled, "Hush your fussin'" is all she replies, because she is not fooled by these words, and because she is, after all, the maid. So, Scout tries another angle, informing Calpurnia that she has caused her trouble with her teacher because of having taught Scout to write.

Scout continues to sulk at school until other matters steal her attention. After school she and Jem meet Atticus as he walks home from the office, and they enter the house where Calpurnia kindly lets Scout watch her as she prepares supper, and she even surprises Scout with crackling bread, a favorite treat that she normally does not have time to bake.

"I missed you today," she said. "The house got so lonesome 'long about two o'clock I had to turn on the radio."

Calpurnia bends and kisses Scout, and Scout wonders if Calpurnia wishes to ameliorate the tensions between them. Scout also thinks that Calpurnia realizes that she has been too hard on her and has "at last seen the error of her fractious ways, and was just too stubborn to admit it," but the reader understands that Calpurnia loves Scout as though she were her own child. In the Jim Crow South, this depth of feeling that Calpurnia displays demonstrates what a good Christian Calpurnia is, for she holds no bias or grudges against the Finches. Also, it demonstrates that she holds a much larger role in the Finch household than most maids, such as the girl that Mrs. Dubose has or Sophy, who works for Mrs. Merriweather.

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