What does the "business" part of the Missionary Society consist of in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The business part of the Missionary Society consists of various members of Aunt Alexandra's missionary circle giving reports about the church's ministerial and proselytizing work in foreign lands.

In chapter 24, we find Mrs. Grace Merriweather reporting on the "squalid lives of the Mrunas." The business part of the Missionary Society appears to focus on the backward lives of Third World peoples and how they need the civilizing influence of western missionaries. 

Later, during a conversation with Scout, Mrs. Merriweather provides a little more detail about the Mrunas and the work of J. Grimes Everett (a missionary) among them. Mrs. Merriweather states that, after she met with Everett, she pledged the support of the Maycomb Alabama Methodist Episcopal Church to his ministry. So, during the business part of the Missionary Society meeting, Mrs. Merriweather regaled the ladies with stories about J. Grimes Everett's missionary work among the Mrunas. 

In her full element during the business meeting, Mrs. Merriweather trains her self-righteous indignation against those she deems primitive and irreligious. Her condemnation is predominantly focused on Africans and African Americans, which demonstrates that her supposed solicitude for the Mrunas is based on racial bigotry.

Both Mrs. Merriweather and Mrs. Farrow also suggest that white women must live in fear with the likes of Tom Robinson walking around Maycomb. So, the business meeting consists largely of gossip masquerading as solicitude for the disadvantaged, primitive populations of Africa and Maycomb.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Aunt Alexandra and her missionary circle met regularly to discuss international religious issues and to enjoy homemade refreshments. After a report from Mrs. Grace Merriweather about the "squalid life of the Mrunas" in Africa, Scout was invited to join the ladies for snacks, where she asked Calpurnia if she could help. The ladies dined on charlotte, dewberry tarts and hot coffee intermixed with local gossip and a bit of fun at Scout's expense. Then, it was back to talk about J. Grimes Everett and his missionary work.

Aunt Alexandra reminded Scout that

it was not necessary that I attend the business part of the meeting, she said it'd bore me.

The business part was the gossip and missionary talk and, later, the ladies' views on Maycomb's Negroes.

mkcapen1 | Student

In Chapter 24 of "To Kill a Mockingbird" the Missionary Circle meets at Aunt Alexandra's house where they are served by her colored servant Calpurnia.  The first order of business is directed by Mrs. Merriweather.  She reports about the lives of the Mrunas.  It is shocking to the women to find out that the women in the tribes had been put out of their huts.  The women feel that the tribe does not recognize any type of family structure within the tribe. 

The women's business is short as they quickly retreat to have refreshments and talk gossip.  There meetings appear to be social meetings rather than any of real business decisions.  In addition no resolution or aid was suggested to help the tribe that was discussed.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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