The author portrays Calpurnia as the typical nanny character appropriate for the era. Black servants in the South in the thirties collected a paycheck, but became more respected than slaves of the past. Atticus gives her more respect than the typical indentured servant by expecting the children to treat her like family. He drives her home if the rain should fall or if it is cold.
Calpurnia takes care of the house and cooks, but she is also a sharp disciplinarian. She gives the children rules and boundaries and enforces them. If Scout behaves inappropriately she is punished with the job of copying a page out of the bible. If she deserves a reward, Cal is sure to give her a buttered bread with sugar. Cal is a defender of the children as we see her at the black church with a member offended by their presence. Likewise, she defends the children from the mad dog by requiring they remain in the house.