What does aunt Alexandra call Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Alexandra calls Atticus “brother” when the verdict is read.

Aunt Alexandra and Atticus seem to have a somewhat tumultuous relationship.  She comes to stay with him during the trial to make sure his kids are raised right and to look out for him.  He accepts her meddling, but it sometimes frustrates him.  She does not usually treat him affectionately, but when he returns home after losing the trial, she surprises everyone.

"I'm sorry, brother," she murmured. Having never heard her call Atticus "brother" before, I stole a glance at Jem, but he was not listening. (ch 22)

Aunt Alexandra shows her softer side after the trial, when she seems to definitely care about Atticus and his well-being.  Calling him “brother” is a show of affection that shocks Scout, because she has never heard any such affection before.  She normally just calls him Atticus.

In Scout’s life, Aunt Alexandra is a kind of villain because she wants Scout to wear frilly dresses and act like a lady.  Atticus does not appreciate her focus on making them understand their heritage, because he wants them to judge others by their character and not their family.  She clearly does care about her brother, and does not want him to be disappointed.

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