What does Calpurnia permit Scout to do that she had not permitted before in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 16, Calpurnia permits Scout to drink coffee for the first time.

Calpurnia is the Finch's housekeeper who also helps Atticus raise his children. Calpurnia is known for her strict personality and aggressive nature when the children misbehave. Scout mentions that she has numerous battles with Calpurnia, which all seem to favor Cal. Despite Calpurnia's strict personality, she has a soft spot for Jem and Scout. When Scout comes home her first day of school, Cal makes her crackling bread and also offers to keep her company when Jem is out playing with Dill. Towards the beginning of chapter 16, Calpurnia is serving Aunt Alexandra coffee, and Scout requests that she have some to drink. Calpurnia initially refuses to allow Scout to have some coffee because she is too young. However, Scout says that it might help her stomach and Calpurnia gives in by serving Scout a little bit of coffee mixed with milk. Scout mentions that she thanked Calpurnia by sticking her tongue out at it and Aunt Alexandra gives her a warning frown.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Calpurnia doesn't allow Scout to get away with much, and the Finch's housekeeper keeps a close rein on the two children. But on the morning after Jem, Scout and Dill came to Atticus's rescue at the jail--and preventing Tom Robinson from a possible lynching--Calpurnia does give in to one of Scout's requests. As Calpurnia served Aunt Alexandra coffee, Scout attempted to give a "pleading winning look." Scout had apparently been eager to try coffee before with no success, but this time Cal gave in when Scout suggested it might "help my stomach." Cal placed one tablespoon of coffee in a clean cup and filled it with milk. Scout showed her thanks by "sticking out my tongue at it." Of course, Calpurnia had already broken new ground when she took the children to her church one Sunday when Atticus was out of town.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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