What are some examples in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird that show Calpurnia either initiating, supporting, or subverting prejudice?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several examples of Calpurnia subverting prejudice throughout the novel. In Chapter 3, Scout chastises Walter Cunningham Jr. for pouring syrup all over his dinner. Calpurnia takes Scout into the kitchen and disciplines her for the way she was judging Walter Cunningham Jr. When Scout says, "He ain't company, Cal, he's just a Cunningham---" (Lee 33). Calpurnia explains to Scout that anybody who enters their home is considered company, regardless if they come from a poor family or not. She tells Scout not to act "so high and mighty!" and to show respect to Walter (Lee 33). Calpurnia defends Walter Cunningham Jr., who comes from a lower social class, and teaches Scout a lesson in respecting all people, no matter what social class they come from or how different they may be.

In Chapter 12, Calpurnia takes the children to First Purchase African M.E. Church. One of the first people they run into is an ornery woman named Lula. Lula asks Calpurnia, "I wants to know why you bringin' white chillun to nigger church" (Lee 158). Calpurnia calmly replies to Lula's prejudiced comment by telling her that the children are simply her company. Lula continues to chastise Cal and says that she has no business bringing white children to a black church. Again, Calpurnia diffuses the situation by saying, "It's the same God, ain't it?" (Lee 158). Calpurnia subverts Lula's prejudiced beliefs by refusing to leave the church and defending the children's right to join the congregation.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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