An family member. In the award-winning novel, “To Kill

An unknown author once said, “If they want you in your life, they’ll put you there. You should not have to fight for a spot.” Though Aunt Alexandra wants to fire Calpurnia, Atticus tells Aunt Alexandra, his sister, that she is actually firing a family member. Calpurnia, the cook and maid, has been with the Finch family for so long that she is considered a family member. In the award-winning novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, Harper Lee conveys how important Calpurnia is by making her a role model for Jem and Scout. Lee’s minor character Calpurnia, is characterized as a considerate person who always cares for Atticus’s children, but most importantly a person who is nurturing and will guide Jem and Scout through their years of childhood.  Calpurnia is shown to be a person who is very caring and has a role in shaping who Jem and Scout are as human beings and is part of the Finch family. For example, when Scout says “I had felt her tyrannical presence as long as I could remember. Our mother died when I was two, so I never felt her absence ” (Lee 6), she says that to compare Calpurnia to her long-lost mother.  Mothers do so much for their children and help them become the people they want to be. It is important that Calpurnia take on the role since Scout and Jem were not able to get a feel for who a mother is. By Calpurnia being the compassionate person, Jem and Scout treat Calpurnia as their own mother. Calpurnia shows characteristics of compassion by treating them with love, telling Jem and Scout wrong and right, and just letting them know that she is there to provide them with motherly warmth. Calpurnia is always there to help Jem and Scout throughout hardships and is truly a well-rounded character in the novel. Atticus says, “You may think otherwise, but I couldn’t have got along without her all these years. She is a faithful member of this family…” (Lee 137). He says this show how important Calpurnia is in raising the kids and being a helping hand. Atticus thinks that if Calpurnia was not there through Jem and Scout’s years of childhood, he would not be able to take care of them by himself.  “Calpurnia woke us at noon. Atticus had said we need not to go to school that day, we’d learn nothing after no sleep” (Lee 72). This comprehensive statement shows that Calpurnia has an understanding mentality. She understands how to make situations reasonable which is one of the reasons Scout and Jem love her so much. For a minor character who is constantly helping the children out, Calpurnia is very educated. Since she was probably one of the most educated people in the black community at the time, she understands the value of education.  It is hard to get an education in the 1930’s, especially for African Americans. She wants to teach Jem and Scout that getting an education is not something easy and is a privilege. She wants to imply that once you have education, you are going to have a significantly better life. Therefore, she and Atticus teach Jem and Scout how to read and write at a young age. She displays those characteristics in this quote, “In Calpurnia’s teaching, there was no sentimentality” (Lee 19). That implies that Calpurnia does not take advantage of education, and she wants Scout and Jem to understand that as well. Throughout the story, Calpurnia portrays someone who takes on a motherly role and is someone who cares about Jem and Scout and just wants the best for them. She has shown the children all of her affection, morals, and values. Calpurnia will never have to fight a spot in the Finch family because she has been a part of the family for a long time.  


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