What were Aunt Alexandra's two major preoccupations (primary goals)?

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ajmchugh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Aunt Alexandra, Atticus's sister, has two primary preoccupations in the novel.

First, she is very proud of the Finch family's heritage, and her decision to move into Atticus's house is essentially an indirect criticism of Atticus's relatively liberal parenting skills.  She feels her presence is needed to make the children behave appropriately, and specifically takes it upon herself to try to get Scout, a tomboy, to act like a lady.  In Chapter 13, Scout observes that "Aunt Alexandra was one of the last of her kind: she had river-boat, boarding-school manners; let any moral come along and she would uphold it; she was born in the objective case; she was an incurable gossip."  Further, Scout notes that given even the slightest opportunity, Aunt Alexandra would "exercise her royal prerogative: she would arrange, advise, caution, and warn."  Aunt Alexandra's firm convictions, particularly regarding "appropriate" behavior, are a source of conflict with Atticus.

Also, Aunt Alexandra prides herself in being a very active member of the Missionary Society in Maycomb, hosting meetings at Atticus's house and forcing Scout to attend them. Here, she is preoccupied with upholding her reputation as being a good hostess; she doesn't allow Calpurnia to make any food for the meetings, and she presides over the discussions to assert herself whenever possible. In this missionary circle, women discuss the plight of a tribe in Africa, but showing hypocrisy, also criticize members of the black community in Maycomb.  However, though Aunt Alexandra doesn't approve of Atticus's defense of Tom Robinson, she does become visibly upset when she learns of Tom's death.

mandypandy830 | Student

her major one PRIMARY goal with which she is the MOST preoccupied with is getting scout to act ladylike

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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