To Kill a Mockingbird

What does the visit to the negro church teach Jem and Scout about black people in Maycomb? How is their culture different from the culture of white people the children know? How are the two connected?

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One of my favorite portions of the novel is when Calpurnia takes the children to her church. She is so eager that they make a good impression, and then comes the riotous woman who is offended at their presence. This is a perfect example of the (to me) major premise of the novel: color and money are not indicators of character. That being said, the church as described by Harper Lee is clearly an indicator of the blacks' lower social strata. As mentioned above, the building is in poor condition; what is more telling to me is that virtually no church members can read. While I love the "linin'" scene, it is a clear picture of how far the black community has to go before it can claim equality with its white counterpart.

Yet, there is a pride within the Negroes' church because, be it ever so humble, this is their church. Miss Lula is clearly a realistic character who feels umbrage that the white children come inton her church while she cannot do the reverse. Also, sensitive about the poverty of her friends and herself, she may feel that the white children come to deride the Negro community.