What does Aunt Alexandra request that Atticus try to convey to the children in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?

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lhc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is very important to Alexandra that the children realize that they are Finches, and to be proud of the name.  Alexandra seems to need some sort of validation that her family is respectable and better than some of the folks of Maycomb.  Jem theorizes at one point that the reason it's so important to Alexandra to focus on the family name is because no one in the family has any money.  Alexandra upsets Scout after the trial when she refers to Walter Cunningham's family as "trash" and tells Scout not to play with him. This is in stark contrast to Atticus's general outlook about humanity, which he demonstrates when he tells his children not to judge anyone until they have climbed in the person's shoes and walked around in them.  This noble outlook looks more like naivete in light of Bob Ewell's vicious attack on Scout and Jem, but Atticus does raise his children to be tolerant and compassionate human beings, and unlike his sister, he is not the least bit interested in making them feel superior to others.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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