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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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What did Aunt Alexandra tell Scout?

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Aunt Alexandra has numerous conversations with Scout throughout the novel, and they are typically regarding Scout's attire or her 'tomboy' lifestyle.

In Chapter 9, Scout comments that Alexandra was fanatical regarding her attire. Scout says that Alexandra told her,

"I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches; when I said I could nothing in a dress, she said I wasn't supposed to be doing things that required pants." (Lee 108)

Aunt Alexandra is the quintessential Southern Bell and believes that a female should wear dresses, stay inside the house, and socialize with other women. She is austere and follows the strict gender roles of the Antebellum Period. Her views on femininity often clash with Scout's personality as she attempts to teach Scout how to become a "model young lady."

In Chapter 23, Scout wants to play with Walter Cunningham. Aunt Alexandra tells her that she cannot invite Walter over to the house. When Scout asks why she can't play with Walter, Alexandra says,

"Because---he---is---trash, that's why you can't play with him. I'll not have you around him, picking up his habits and learning Lord-knows-what." (Lee 301)

Scout mentions that Aunt Alexandra is also obsessed with heredity. Alexandra comes from a wealthier family and believes that Scout should not play with people from lower social classes. Alexandra displays her prejudiced beliefs by forbidding Scout to play with her friend, Walter Cunningham. But Scout was raised to respect individuals regardless of their age, race, religion, gender, or social class.

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