Aunt Alexandria is hosting a tea for the missionary ladies' group of Macomb. Calpurnia is helping serve, and Miss Maudie and Scout are in attendance. The ladies discuss the plight of the Mrunas in Africa and the need to help them, but they are nothing but critical of the blacks of Macomb. They accuse the blacks of being defiant and too outspoken since the Tom Robinson trial. We see the prejudice of the South at work and the people's blindness to what is going on in their own town.
Miss Maudie is angry and upset with the group, but because she is a lady, she does not speak up and create a confrontation. Scout, too, cannot understand the hypocrisy of the ladies as they malign the blacks of Macomb, but are willing to spend money to help African tribes.
Aunt Alexandra is somewhat uncomfortable. She is very aware of what the ladies are saying, but she is not willing to confront these women who are her "friends" and her social contacts. She asks Miss Maudie why Macomb allows Atticus to stand alone in the fight to prove Tom's innocence, when they sat in the courtroom and clearly saw the Mayella was lying, so we see that she is beginning to question the South's unbending "white is right" belief. She also shows genuine concern for Atticus and what he is going through.
Scout listens to the ladies talking and is aware that what they are saying is wrong. She sees their prejudices and knows that their concern for the Mrunas is misplaced when the blacks in Macomb need help as well. However, we see Scout maturing in this scene, since she does not confront the women and sits quietly, albeit uncomfortably, at the tea.