What is the relationship between Jem and Scout and their Aunt Alexandra like in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?

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ladyvols1's profile pic

ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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In "To Kill A Mockingbird," Alexandra Finch Hancock is Atticus' sister. She comes to "stay awhile" in Macomb to help Atticus.  Her idea of help is to influence Jem and Scout to appreciate their heritage and their ancestors.  Aunt Alexandra told Scout that it wouldn't be long before Scout became interested in boys and clothes.  Scout tells the reader: " I could have made several answers to this: Cal's a girl, it would be many years before I would be interested in boys, I would never be interested in clothes... but I kept quiet."  Later Scout indicates that "It was plain that Aunty thought me dull in the extreme, because I once heard her tell Atticus that I was sluggish."

Needless to say that the children were polite to their aunt, but they would much rather her not move in "for awhile, which in Macomb could be three days to thirty years."  She would interfere with their freedom and the liberal manner in which Atticus was raising them.

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gmuss25 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

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Jem and Scout do not share a loving relationship with their Aunt Alexandra. Although Aunt Alexandra has the children's best interests in mind, she is distant and rather callous. Aunt Alexandra does not really bother Jem and he does not seem to mind having his aunt around. However, Scout cannot stand living with her aunt. Aunt Alexandra disapproves of Scout's personality and tomboy lifestyle. She wishes that Scout would act like a Southern Belle and wear dresses instead of overalls. Scout feels like her aunt is cold and goes out of her way to avoid Alexandra. Despite Scout's best efforts, she argues with her aunt several times throughout the novel. Jem acts as a mediator between his sister and aunt. Jem tries his best to make sure Scout doesn't antagonize their aunt and pulls Scout aside several times so that she avoids conflict with Alexandra. 


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