Quotes About Calpurnia Being A Mother Figure

What are some examples of how Calpurnia is a mother figure in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus relies on Calpurnia to provide the feminine touch so desperately needed in the Finch household. Scout is none too happy with Calpurnia's "tyrannical presence" in the early chapters, but she comes to understand that Cal is making decisions that are best for the children. Scout also realizes that Cal has Atticus's full support, so there is really no reason for her to question the housekeeper. Cal gives Scout a lesson on how to treat a guest--in this case, Walter Cunningham Jr.--when she "requested my presence in the kitchen." Cal, in no uncertain terms, angrily explains that

"... anybody sets foot in this house's yo' comp'ny, and don't you let me catch you remarkin' on their ways like you was so high and mighty!"

Cal has already helped to educate both of the children and taught Scout to write cursive. She keeps Jem and Scout safely away from the mad dog, and she sympathizes with Scout when Jem's growth pains prevent him from spending time with his sister. When Atticus is away one Sunday, Cal takes the children to her church, where they get a lesson on how Cal's friends worship. Scout enjoys herself so much that she invites herself to come visit at Cal's house one day. Cal's importance is best understood when Aunt Alexandra tries to force Atticus to fire her, thinking that she will no longer be needed with Alexandra in the house. But Atticus will not hear of it. He tells Alexandra that

"I couldn't have gotten along without her all these years. She's a faithful member of this family..."

Calpurnia's motherly traits are obvious to Atticus.

"I don't think the children have suffered one bit from her having brought them up. If anything, she's been harder on them in some ways than a mother would have been."

Cal is not just a common Negro housekeeper.

"... she's never let them get away with anything, she's never indulged them the way most colored nurses do. She tried to bring them up according to her lights, and Cal's lights are pretty good--and another thing, the children love her."

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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