Miss Maudie & Aunt Alex

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Miss Maudie & Aunt Alex

The Maycomb ladies provide an excellent example of racial prejudice, and a failure to see what it is like in someone else’s skin. They believe they are doing well by making money for missions, failing to see the hardship on their own doorsteps. Aunt Alexandra is very important to the novel, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ as she is a representative of these viewpoints, disapproving of Calpurnia and disassociating herself from the black community entirely. Miss Maudie however is the counterpoint to Aunt Alexandra. Maudie offers Scout a female role model, whereas Aunt Alexandra tries to make Scout more ladylike, to fit in with her position in life. Aunt Alexandra plays the greatest role in reinforcing class distinctions within the Finch family. As she believes that because the Finch family comes from a long line of landowners, who have been in the county for generations, they deserve greater respect than other people do and therefore must behave according to their status. However her prejudice alienates her from the tolerant Finches, but she fits in well with the rest of Maycomb.

Aunt Alexandra has strict and traditional ideas of how society works and the role for a Southern woman within it, which she tries to enforce upon Scout at the beginning to this novel. ‘When I said I could do nothing in a dress, she said I wasn’t supposed to be doing things that required pants.’ Scout immediately takes a dislike to Aunt Alexandra when she criticises her about her overalls. Aunt Alexandra fits in well with the neighbours in Maycomb, but not with the children, as she demands different standards of behaviour from what they are used to. Aunt Alexandra does create an impact during her stay when trying to influence the children during their crucial years of growing up.

Atticus is worried that he is not doing his best for his children and is torn between being courteous to his sister and raising Jem and Scout as he sees fit. ‘Your aunt has asked me to try and impress upon you and Jean Louise that you are not from run-of-the-mill people,’ ‘She asked me to tell you….’ Atticus doesn’t really want to do this but realises it’s important to his sister, Jem and Scout can sense this as he keeps saying ‘She asked me to tell you…’ Aunt Alexandra plays a major role in Jem and Scout’s understanding of Atticus’s teachings on racial discrimination and prejudice. S...

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... in the last few chapters when Jem and Scout are attacked. Aunt Alexandra redeems herself and realises the importance of the children’s well being and not their status, she becomes a changed women in both the reader’s and Scout’s eyes. ‘Are you all right, darling?’ she asked over and over as she worked me free. The reader also sees a definite change to Auntie when she hands Scout her overalls, ‘the garments she most despised.’ She blames herself for the attack and shows care and tenderness in the final crisis.

Both Miss Maudie and Aunt Alexandra are important role models to Scout and Jem at the end of this novel. Especially Aunt Alexandra as she shows the children that there is hope in Maycomb for people to alter their ways and views like she’s started to achieve in the last few chapters to this book. Jem and Scout don’t have a mother figure in their lives but Miss Maudie acts as a feminine role model, helping Atticus to guide them towards the right understanding of life. From this analysis of the two characters Miss Maudie and Aunt Alexandra, it is very clear that they both care very much for the welfare of the children although they go about showing it in very different ways.
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