With the exception of Lula, how are Jem and Scout treated by the people of Calpurnia's church in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

With the exception of Lula, the other members of the congregation treat Jem and Scout with distant respect.

When Scout and Jem visit Calpurnia’s church, they meet some members of her congregation and learn how the other half lives.

When they saw Jem and me with Calpurnia, the men stepped back and took off their hats; the women crossed their arms at their waists, weekday gestures of respectful attention. (Ch. 12)

These people see Scout and Jem as employers, not as company as Calpurnia describes them, but they treat them respectfully.  Scout is surprised by how little they have at this church.  It is clean, but sparse.  The graves are decorated with soda bottle color and there are no hymn books because no one can read.  It is a reminder of the poverty and lack of opportunity in this community.  Although Lula makes trouble, Reverand Sykes welcomes them and most of the others make no mention of them.

The most notable event at the church service is the collection for Tom Robinson’s family.  It reminds Scout and Jem that Tom is not just one man in trouble.  His whole family is in trouble.  It also shows that while the entire town of Maycomb might be collectively joining together against Tom, at least this community is collectively joining together to help him.

Calpurnia’s position in the community is highlighted in this chapter.  As a member of the Finch household, she is treated more equally than most black servants.  She was also given an education, and passed it on to her son.  This makes her an anomaly, and allows her to straddle two worlds.  While this is an advantage sometimes, the incident with Lula shows that it can place her in certain social situations where it can be a disadvantage too.  This is a side of Cal we have not seen yet.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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