Why does Jem prevent Scout from fighting Walter, and why is Calpurnia furious with Scout in Chapter 3 of To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scout's first day at school in To Kill a Mockingbird was not a good one, despite the fact that

I never looked forward more to anything in my life.

Scout ran afoul of her new teacher, Miss Caroline, from the start, and when she tried to defend Walter Cunningham Jr. and explain why the boy had no lunch money, Miss Caroline "whipped me" with a ruler. Scout planned to get payback on Walter during lunch break, and she was busy "rubbing his nose in the dirt" when Jem made her stop.

"You're bigger'n he is," he said.

Instead of eating dirt, Walter was invited to the Finches' house for lunch. Walter and Atticus got along fine, and they "talked together like two men, to the wonderment of Jem and me." But when Walter drowned all of his food in syrup, Scout couldn't resist protesting. Calpurnia immediately led her from the kitchen, angrily explaining that

"That boy's yo' comp'ny and if he wants to eat up the table cloth you let him, you hear?"

Cal explained that any guest--even a Cunningham--was considered company and that Scout's remarks were "disgracin' " Walter.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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