To Kill a Mockingbird

What is significant about the differing attitudes of Atticus and Alexandra after Scout describes her trip to First Purchase?

Chapters 13-14

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The significance comes from the fact that their attitudes are polar opposite.

"Atticus seemed to enjoy it, but Aunt Alexandra, who was sitting in a corner quietly sewing, put down her embroidery and stared at us. “You all were coming back from Calpurnia’s church that Sunday?”

Atticus sees Calpurnia as an integral part of the family; Aunt Alexandra sees her as a bad influence and wants her fired. Alexandra feels that Calpurnia has over-stepped her bounds. Nonetheless, Atticus acts with as much tact as he can muster.

“Alexandra, Calpurnia’s not leaving this house until she wants to. You may think otherwise, but I couldn’t have got along without her all these years. She’s a faithful member of this family and you’ll simply have to accept things the way they are. Besides, sister, I don’t want you working your head off for us—you’ve no reason to do that. We still need Cal as much as we ever did.”


To Kill A Mockingbird

Revered King was not like Al Sharpton. Some southern fundamentalist evangelical church services are very uncomfortable for non - believers or for people accustomed to other types services. As a child my siblings and I were allowed to attend Synagogue. My family attended many interfaith and racially diverse Christian church services. My youngest son has attended a Muslim prayer service with a friend. But none of the services were collecting tithes for politicians or family. Community interfaith services were also very educational.

I grew up in the Southern Baptist Church, but I must admit that snake handling and speaking in tongues makes me super squeamish. I do love gospel music, dancing and Christian revivals. Miracle healing is also a part of some evangelical cultures. Freedom of religion , however, does not allow me to dismiss these activities as blasphemy.

Even most modern parents would prefer that their children not be exposed to a radical religious service. I would not like my children to mistakenly associate all people of any religion with one uniquely branded branch/ church.

Neither racism or counter racism appeal to me.

Children do not always feel inclined or "allowed" to get up and leave if they feel uncomfortable or offended, even in school. That brings us back to Waco.

Caring mothers and guardians like Auntie Alexandra may make choices not based on any other reasons than what they deem best for their children's better interests/ safety.

All the mothers that have invited my children to religious services are tolerant, kind and caring. I trust they would have been the first lo leave if my children were put in any harm's way.

My children have been raised in the Catholic faith but are very kind and tolerant. They have friends of other faiths but prefer their own. The Holy Bible says, " They will know you are Christians by your love." I do not think the words hate or damn qualify as loving words. But Atticus Finch's character did teach love, tolerance , honor and kindness. His language was not damning or judgmental.

Harper Lee put the Finch children in a fictional setting that could have been real if Atticus were a DA or judge today. Police officers, not attorneys, hold arrestees for their own protection. We readers all know Tom Robinson was innocent, but real life cases are not always that simple.

Communities rally behind those they know and love. (Human nature 101.) But looting, violent rioting and hate crimes are not good outcries of public support. Rather than solve problems, violence often just creates new and even more complex ones.

Reverend King was a national symbol of peaceful and communicative demonstration. If he had incited words of anger, violence or vengeance, he would have never been as successful as he was in bringing about the changes many American people knew had to be made.

If all dreamers were peaceful, grateful and educated like Mr. King, modern stories like the one in To Kill A Mockingbird would be far and few. If we Americans continue raise our children in a culture of guns and violence, our society indirectly tolerates as well as promotes the same type actions that we need to curb.

Making guns illegal is not viable. But gun control and register laws are equally as important as those for cars and vehicle licenses. Many use guns to shoot game and feed their families. Some attorneys, detectives and police officers may need them for self defense against revenge crimes. Some Americans feel that their neighborhoods are so unsafe that a gun is a better back - up than a spouse or trusted neighbor.

These very sad realities make it difficult to judge the Aunt Alexandra's of the world then and now. Maybe Michael Jackson, iike Aunt Alexandra, guarded the children for very noble and personal reasons. Jackson's case was very polemic and he was finally declared innocent. But his own children were needlessly pursued by the vulture press like pawns in a legal chess game. They obviously loved their father no matter what the press did or said. But did they need to be present during his trial? Should the DA's children have been watching without his or her knowledge?

The issues of child safety and protection are not about race or religion. They are just plain common sense. Far too often the press allows children to be used to generate mercy or to sensationalize political issues. Responsible teachers, parents and other adults should put child safety and educational interests before personal or political ones.

So, in defense of Auntie Alex ( but not to criticize Cal or Atticus, )I believe she had good cause for concern about Cal taking the children church without consulting Atticus or with her. Cal knew the children would be safe among her congregation, but she could not have known about fly by shooters, crazy demonstrators or rallying politicians. A double standard is never a fair one.

too long!