To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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Which characters in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee try to make Scout conform to proper behavior?

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Lots of the women in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird try to make Scout conform to proper behavior; this is not particularly surprising, since Scout's mother died when she was quite young. Each of the women in her life "works on her" in different ways. 

Calpurnia is the closest thing the tomboyish Scout has to a mother, and she is always trying to make sure Scout acts politely. The most obvious example of this happens at the family dinner table at noon on Scout's first day of school. The Finches have a guest, Walter Cunningham, who pours syrup over all his food. Of course the outspoken Scout makes a comment about it. 

It was then that Calpurnia requested my presence in the kitchen. She was furious, and when...she squinted down at me the tiny lines around her eyes deepened. “There’s some folks who don’t eat like us,” she whispered fiercely, “but you ain’t called on to contradict ‘em at the table when they don’t. That boy’s yo’ comp’ny and if he wants to eat up the...

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