What new things does Scout learn here about how the black people live?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 12, Calpurnia takes Jem and Scout to Sunday service at First Purchase African M.E. Church, and Scout gains valuable insight into African American culture during her visit. Scout learns that the black community does not have the resources to buy a piano or an organ, and also finds it strange that there are no hymnals or programs. She is also shocked when the congregation sings in unison without using hymnals after Zeebo leads them in song.

Scout goes on to learn that the majority of black citizens are illiterate, which is why the congregation must utilize a technique known as "lining." Scout also learns that the black community is hospitable and welcoming. Reverend Sykes goes out of his way to welcome the Finch children, and the members of the congregation are extremely kind to them, except Lula. Scout also learns that individuals are called out for their transgressions at First Purchase, and Reverend Sykes is not afraid to take necessary measures to collect an offering. Scout also becomes aware that the black community provides for one another and helps each other out in difficult times. Following the sermon, Scout discovers that Calpurnia lives a "modest double life," and that black people possess the ability to code-switch when they are in the company of white people. Overall, Scout gains valuable insight into the black community after she attends Sunday service at First Purchase African M.E. Church.

missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think you are talking about chapter 12 when Scout and Jem go with Calpurnia to her church.

At this point in the story, the kids completely go into a different culture. They are for the first time the minority.

What they learn about the black community is tri-fold:

  • They take care of each other. The Reverend Sykes shut up the doors to collect another 10 dollars to help the Tom Robinson family.
  • They use the resources they have to the best of their ability. They use one hymnal because only 4 people in the church can read. They line the music and sing in melody because they don't have instruments.
  • They are also just like everyone else, they have good people and bad ones. Lula rudely addressed the Finch children but everyone else surrounded them with appreciation.
clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

She learns of many cultural differences between the black community and white community.

Consider the events which take Scout by surprise:

1.  EVERYONE gives at church - up front and publically.  No private passing of the plate.
2.  Guests are not expected to give (as per Calpurnia's direction to put their dimes away as she provides them with money herself).
3.  Most cannot read.
4.  There is no organ yet the music manages to move Scout.
5.  The sermon is so personalized, individuals are called out by name.  Additionally, no one is offended by this.
6.  It is very important to Calpurnia that the children are clean and well dressed, as that is an immediate reflection on her.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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