In chapter 3, Jem invites Walter Cunningham Jr. over to dinner, and Scout embarrasses him by rudely commenting on his unorthodox eating habits. Calpurnia requests Scout's presence in the kitchen and furiously reprimands Scout for her behavior. Calpurnia tells Scout that she needs to treat her company with respect, regardless of the person's social status. Calpurnia then smacks Scout and makes her eat in the kitchen for the remainder of the meal. After dinner, Scout stays behind to tell Atticus about Calpurnia's "iniquities," and he tells his daughter,
I’ve no intention of getting rid of her, now or ever. We couldn’t operate a single day without Cal, have you ever thought of that? You think about how much Cal does for you, and you mind her, you hear? (Lee, 25).
Atticus's comments regarding Calpurnia's worth reveal her importance to the Finch family. Calpurnia's punishment of Scout illustrates that she is a strict woman who sympathizes with other people's situations. She also believes in treating people with respect, and she defends Walter Cunningham Jr. by reprimanding Scout. Later in the day, Scout returns home from school, and Cal gives her a piece of crackling bread. Cal's compassionate, forgiving nature is demonstrated when she rewards Scout for finishing her first day of school.