To Kill a Mockingbird

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Children look up to their elders for wisdom and advice. They rely on someone experienced and with authority for guidance on how to live their lives. However, sometimes the people who are accountable for youth mislead them; they may have good intentions, but are not mature enough to exemplify their values and morals, or they simply are ignorant. In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Aunt Alexandra plays a negative role: she is a proper, southern lady with a strict code of behaviour and etiquette, but is too closed-minded and obstreperous to change her ways or view the world from others’ perspectives. Calpurnia takes on the position of a positive role model by disciplining the children in the Finch household. Miss Maudie takes on the role of a motherly companion, who shares warmth and words of wisdom with Jem and Scout Finch.

Aunt Alexandra is a negative influence on Jem and Scout. She is a refined lady with great knowledge about good conduct, and tries to impose this especially on Scout in ways that are unsuccessful and even hazardous to her growth and self esteem. She is strongly opposed to Scout’s attire which consists of overalls and pants, and demands that she act lady-like by changing into a skirt or dress. She is making Scout conform to the ideal vision of a stereotypical girl in the Nineteen-Thirties, which gives Scout a message that her individuality is unacceptable.

“Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on the subject of my attire. I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches…” (Lee, 81).

Aunt Alexandra’s scathing presence is further revealed in the novel where her aversion to black people is evident. She dislikes Calpurnia and bosses her around, and thinks that Atticus defending Tom Robinson is shameful to the fa...

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... so she is softer and deals with their shortcomings in an age-appropriate way. Miss Maudie is the most motherly because of her amiable nature.

“She loved everything that grew in God’s earth, even the weeds…” (Lee, 42), “Miss Maudie’s benevolence…” (Lee, 43).

In conclusion, Aunt Alexandra, Calpurnia, and Miss Maudie are each responsible for Jem and Scout Finch’s growth and maturity throughout the novel, and they each have different impacts that could be either positive or negative. Aunt Alexandra tends to their behavioural and appearance inadequacies, which are superficial, but Calpurnia and Miss Maudie nurture strong moral capacities and teach them necessary life lessons, respectively, to help them mature into honourable people who always do the right thing.

Works Cited
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York NY: Warner Books, Hachette Book Group USA, 1960.
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