What is Calpurnia's relationship with Aunt Alexandra like in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is clear in Aunt Alexandra's mind that there is little room in the Finch household for two women, and one of the first things she does after her arrival in Maycomb is to try and force Atticus to fire Calpurnia. But Calpurnia's long-serving loyalty has not gone unnoticed by Atticus, and he firmly tells his sister that Calpurnia will remain as long as she wants to stay.

"She's a faithful member of this family and you'll simply have to accept things the way they are...
     --and another thing, the children love her."  (Chapter 14)

Calpurnia remained in her position as maid and housekeeper in the Finch house, but Aunt Alexandra seems to have taken over as the surrogate mother for Jem and Scout. She pressured Scout to act more like a lady, just as Calpurnia had done before; but while Scout learned to accept Cal's firm but friendly ways, Scout never really warmed up to her aunt's authoritarian behavior. As a Negro woman, Cal knew better than to openly criticize white men or women, and she never comments on her relationship with Alexandra. As for Alexandra, she was not happy about Jem and Scout accompanying Cal to her church, and she forbade Scout from visiting Cal at her home in the Quarters.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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