Why does Aunt Alexandra tell Scout she doesn't want her going to Calpurinia's neighborhood in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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In Chapter 12, Calpurnia takes Scout and Jem to Sunday service at First Purchase African M.E. Church. Scout and Jem enjoy experiencing the African American church and gain valuable insight during their visit. At the beginning of Chapter 14, Scout asks Atticus what rape is and explains to him that she had previously asked the same question to Calpurnia on their way home from church. Scout then elaborates on her visit to First Purchase African M.E. Church and mentions that Aunt Alexandra did not look amused while she told her story to Atticus. Scout then remembers that Cal had invited her over after church next Sunday and asks Atticus if she can go. Before Atticus can respond, Alexandra intervenes and says, "You may not" (Lee 84). Alexandra does not want Scout to visit Cal's neighborhood because she is prejudiced regarding African Americans. Alexandra also believes Cal is a bad influence on Scout and feels the Finch family should distance itself from the African American community in the wake of the Tom Robinson trial.

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At the beginning of chapter 14, Scout and Aunt Alexandra have a battle over going to Calpurnia’s house.  Atticus did not know they went to church with her, and when Scout tells him he is surprised but Alexandra intervenes.

I remembered something. “Yessum, and she promised me I could come out to her house some afternoon. Atticus. I’ll go next Sunday if it’s all right, can I? Cal said she’d come get me if you were off in the car.”

“You may not.”  (Ch 14, p. 181)

Aunt Alexandra worries that Calpurnia is a bad influence because she is black.  She does not want Scout exposed to that neighborhood.  Scout gets annoyed that Aunt Alexandra tells her what to do, and then Atticus and Alexandra have an argument about whether or not Cal should stay the housekeeper.  Atticus defends Cal, and says that she has brought the children up well.


Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: Warner, 1986. Print.

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