Illustration of a bird perched on a scale of justice

To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

Start Free Trial

What are the conflicts in chapter 13 of To Kill A Mockingbird?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Chapter Thirteen of To Kill a Mockingbird, Aunt Alexandra has arrived in order to provide Scout with some "feminine influence"—a decision which Scout thoroughly does not agree with, since she struggles to relate to and converse with the woman. Aunt Alexandra is on the warpath to do "What Is Best For The Family" and to create a sense of pride in their personal history. Unfortunately for her, Scout and Jem have very little interest in the so-called "family consciousness" of the Finch lineage and do not possess pride in their ancestry.

Additionally, much of the conflict in this chapter comes from Scout's resistance to being turned into a proper young lady and a beacon of Southern womanhood, a task which Aunt Alexandra has narrow-mindedly insisted upon taking up. Although she may care enough about her family to settle down roots at the Finch household, her methodology is less than desirable in the eyes of Scout.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The biggest conflict in Chapter 13 of  Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird is Aunt Alexandra's decision to come stay with Atticus, Jem, and Scout. This development is a conflict particularly for Scout, as Aunt Alexandra is determined to make her niece act like a "young lady." Aunt Alexandra disapproves of Scout's rough-and-tumble, tomboy existence, and she aims to force Scout to conform to standard feminine expectations of women. Thus, another, broader conflict here is the conflict of gender roles, specifically the conflict that greets women who try to flout gender roles. Scout values her independence and toughness, and Aunt Alexandra's imposition of traditional feminine gender roles threatens to extinguish these qualities and force her into the realm of tea-party society. Some of the threat of this conflict is lessened, however, when Atticus, after briefly trying to adhere to his sister's schemes, quietly tells Scout to forget about them. 

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team