What side does Aunt Alexandra take concerning the trial in Chapter 15 of To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Alexandra never expresses a belief that Tom Robinson is an innocent man, nor does she ever give her approval of Atticus's defense of the black man. Scout notes that there was a "fake peace" that prevailed in the household, and Alexandra seems to, remarkably, hold her tongue concerning the trial when around the children. Alexandra is not as racially enlightened as Atticus--she has her own Negro chauffeur before relocating to Maycomb, and she believes the Finches are better than the other families in town because of their "gentle breeding"--but she does support her brother, probably more out of sibling love than anything else. She does not approve of Atticus discussing the case around Calpurnia or the children, and following Atticus's stay at the jail protecting Tom from the lynch mob, she "radiated waves of disapproval." Alexandra "nearly fainted" when she heard the children had been present at the trial, and "it hurt her" when she found that Atticus had given his permission for them to return. She worries that Atticus will " 'turn bitter' " following the guilty verdict, and that Bob Ewell may do " 'Something furtive' " in retaliation. After learning of Tom's death, Alexandra emotionally tells Miss Maudie that

     "I can't say I approve of everything he does, Maudie, but he's my brother, and I just want to know when this will ever end... It tears him to pieces... what else do they want from him?"  (Chapter 24)


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