What is "linin"?  Why do people in Calpurnia's church use it?

Why does Calp. speak the dialect of the "colored folks"when she is in her church?

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The "linin'" is what the people at the First Purchase Church do instead of having hymn books.  They have to do it that way because they are too poor to have the books and besides, they can't all read.  So the leader gives one line from the hymn and they all sing it.  Then he gives the next.

If Calpurnia went to the black church and started talking like a white person, everyone would accuse her of trying to act like she was better than the other black people.  They would say she was trying to act white.

mkcapen1 | Student

Calpurnia lives in two worlds, a white world and a black world.  She is well aware that she is expected to behave and present a certain way when she is among each group and those behaviors and speech are very different. 

Calpurnia is a unique individual but very much like many women of her day.  She has spent her life taking care of white people and their children and homes.  Yet, it is clear that she respects Atticus and feels fortunate to be able to work for someone who respects her color and does not degrade the black people. 

When she takes the children to the church it ais an awakening for them because they have the opportunity to learn tha dialects are cultural and in the south, at the time, race related.  In many ways Calpurnia demonstrates her high level of intelligence by showing and explaining to the children the difference between the ways one must present ones self.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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