When Scout questions Walter's table manners, what do you learn about Calpurnia and her place in the Finch family in To Kill a Mockingbird?

1 Answer | Add Yours

bullgatortail's profile pic

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

Posted on

It is obvious that Calpurnia is more than just the housekeeper of the Finch family. As the only adult female presence in the household, she also serves as the mother figure for the two children. Scout has already explained that she always lost her battles with Calpurnia since Atticus was always on her side. So, when Scout scolds Walter for putting molasses on all of his food, Calpurnia is quick to caution her and then remove her from the table. Cal quietly lectures Scout on behavior toward household guests, explaining that no matter who the person is, if they are in the Finch home, they are to be treated with respect.

The scene shows that Cal has free rein over disciplining the children since she did not ask Atticus first when she led Scout from the dining room. This is probably quite unusual in Maycomb; few African-Americans are in a position to give orders to a white person--be they children or not. But Cal has Atticus' confidence and respect, and this unusual arrangement will continue in spite of Scout's protests.

We’ve answered 319,189 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question