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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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What are some quotes about Calpurnia being educated in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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Some of the strongest evidence to support Calpurnia's being educated comes at the beginning of Part II, in Chapter 12, when Cal takes the children to her church- The First Purchase African M.E. Church- while Atticus is away.

After Calpurnia's son, Zeebo, leads the congregation in a call and response format for their hymns, Jem asks why they don't have hymnals, and Calpurnia explains that most of the congregation can't read. Cal says, "Can't but about four folks in First Purchase read... I'm one of 'em" (Lee 141) .

Cal goes on to explain that she taught her son to read as well; "There wasn't a school even when he was a boy. I made him learn, though" (Lee 142). In the same scene, she explains how she taught Zeebo by having him read from a bible along with a book called Blackstone's Commentaries that Scout and Jem's grandfather gave to her so that Miss Buford (Miss Maudie's aunt) could teach her to read when she was a child growing up at Finch's Landing.

There's also a scene early in the book when Scout casually mentions Calpurnia's literacy and how it was Cal who taught Scout and Jem how to read and write. In Chapter 2, when Miss Caroline punishes Scout for already knowing how to write (which the rest of the class won't study until they get to third grade), Scout explains:

"Calpurnia was to blame for this. It kept me from driving her crazy on rainy days, I guess. She would set me a writing task by scrawling the alphabet firmly across the top of a tablet, then copying out a chapter of the Bible beneath. If I reproduced her penmanship satisfactorily, she rewarded me with an open-faced sandwich of bread and butter and sugar. In Calpurnia's teaching, there was no sentimentality: I seldom pleased her and she seldom rewarded me" (Lee 21).

These quotes regarding Calpurina's literacy and her teaching of the children are the main evidence of her being educated.


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