What do we learn about Calpurnia's attitude towards other people in Chapter 3 of To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Calpurnia rules the Finch household with an iron fist when Atticus is not around (and even sometimes when he is). She feels free to express her mind whenever she feels like it, something that not all black men and women could do publicly among white people during the 1930s. Cal no doubt holds her tongue on some occasions (such as at the missionary circle tea in Chapter 24), and she rarely criticizes white people (although she has some choice words about old Mr. Radley in Chapter 1). But Cal speaks freely in Chapter 3 after Scout's rude treatment of her guest Walter Cunningham Jr. Cal makes it clear that

"Don't matter who they are, anybody sets foot in this house's yo' compn'y, and don't you let me catch you remarkin' on their ways like you was so high and mighty!"  (Chapter 3)

To Cal, it didn't matter that young Walter was a child or even a member of the lowly Cunningham family: A guest in the Finch home should be treated with respect. Cal did make amends to Scout later in the day when she specially prepared one of Scout's favorite foods--crackling bread. Scout recognized it as a peace offering, and she "ran along, wondering what had come over her."

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 3, Walter Cunningham Jr. is invited to eat dinner at the Finch household. During dinner, Walter Cunningham Jr. pours syrup all over his meal which disgusts Scout. Scout rudely asks Walter what the "sam hill" he is doing which embarrasses him. Calpurnia then requests Scout's presence in the kitchen and proceeds to chastise Scout for her behavior. Calpurnia tells Scout that she should never contradict a person about their eating habits, and believes that hosts should always treat their guests with respect. Calpurnia also gives Scout a lesson in humility and threatens Scout about disgracing anymore of her guests. Calpurnia's advice to Scout illustrates her attitude towards other people. Calpurnia believes in fair and equal treatment. She also feels that people should treat others with respect, regardless of social class or race. Cal feels that people deserve to be treated with kindness, especially if they are guests in her home. 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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