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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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In To Kill a Mockingbird, what is the purpose of the missionary society besides gossip?

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Aunt Alexandra and her “religious” missionary circle of friends get together for refreshments, gossip, and to talk about the Mruna tribe they charitably support in Africa.  The group’s purpose is to raise money for J. Grimes Everett who has gone on a mission to spread Christianity in Africa from their church.  This was a common thing for churches to do, and missionaries still go on today, but the irony of this missionary group is that they will help African people a world away, but they will not extend a bit of assistance to the blacks in their own community.  They expect to be waited on by black maids like Calpurnia, call Atticus derogatory names for defending Tom Robinson, and go to a segregated church. They are far from what one might call a “Christian” in their dealings with the black citizens in Maycomb. 

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