What analogy does Scout make about Aunt Alexandra, and what can you infer about Scout’s relationship with Aunt Alexandra based on the analogy in To Kill a Mockingbird?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Scout compares her aunt to Mt. Everest, which shows that they do not have a very close relationship.

Scout does not have much of a relationship with her aunt.  Aunt Alexandra is Atticus’s sister.  Scout seems to avoid her aunt and her aunt does not seem overly affectionate toward her either.

Had I ever harbored the mystical notions about mountains that seem to obsess lawyers and judges, Aunt Alexandra would have been analogous to Mount Everest: throughout my early life, she was cold and there. (Ch. 9)

Mount Everest is one of the largest mountains in the world, and is of course covered with snow.  By comparing her aunt to Mount Everest, Scout is emphasizing the fact that her aunt is an immovable presence in her life, insurmountable, but not compassionate.  The mountain is dangerous and impassable, and so is Alexandra.

Aunt Alexandra wants to turn Scout into the proper Southern young lady.  She also wants to impress upon Scout the importance of her family history and status.  She would prefer that Scout wear dresses and pearls to overalls, and does not approve of her climbing trees.

Scout even has trouble with Francis, Alexandra’s son.  She finds him incredibly boring except for his tendency to get him in trouble.

As he lived in Mobile, he could not inform on me to school authorities, but he managed to tell everything he knew to Aunt Alexandra, who in turn unburdened herself to Atticus, who either forgot it or gave me hell, whichever struck his fancy. (Ch. 9)

Aunt Alexandra desperately desires to make Scout into the perfect little girl, but Atticus tells Scout that Alexandra does not understand girls because she had never had one.  This is no comfort to Scout.

During the trial, Alexandra does become more compassionate toward Scout and shows that she cares about Scout and Atticus.  Scout sees another side of her, and comes to appreciate her strength and see her as a role model after all.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial