To Kill a Mockingbird – Post the Second

So the book is progressing, and I can’t complain; I continue to appreciate the immaculate parenting skills of Atticus and speculate on whether he is actually the god of compassion come down to earth.  It seems as though the book is slightly less about the children now, and more about Atticus’s case (though the children are still very much present). 

This section seems to be the first time that we see Calpurnia in a really meaningful situation (a sort of double life).  During chapter 12, Calpurnia brings the Finch children to her church and when confronted about breaking societal norms, Scout notes that her response was “in tones [Scout] had never heard [Calpurnia] use.  She spoke quietly, contemptuously”.  This is the first instance where we see Calpurnia outside of her traditional role (the children’s nanny).  Here, not only is Calpurnia continuing to fill her role as the Finch’s mother figure, but she is also standing up against a member of her church and her race, to exert her (and Atticus’s) stance against de facto segregation.  Later in this chapter, Scout indignantly tells Calpurnia “That doesn’t mean you hafta talk [like the other black people] when you know better.” to which Calpurnia responds “You’re not gonna change any of them by talkin’ right, they’ve got to want to learn themselves”.  I see this response as a metaphor going deeper than just the usage of proper grammar.  I feel like this is Calpurnia hinting at that de facto segregation that looms over American society such that both parties would prefer isolation from the other simply because that’s the way it’s been.

As far as this this past discussion is concerned, I think it went better than the first one.  We really brought up some interesting points on the overall progression of both the plot but also the characters.  There was a plethora of excellent speculation and conclusion drawing regarding the hidden lives of the characters of Atticus, Calpurnia, and Mrs. Duboise.  For our next discussion, I want to make a point to discuss one of two questions that have been developing during my reading of chapters 15-20.  Firstly: Why are Dill and Jem’s reactions partway through and at the conclusion (respectively) so dramatic as opposed to Scout’s reaction? (This could be worded much better…). Secondly: What things are the children gradually learning with each successive disclosure of another character’s secret life (most recently Mayella Ewell and Mr. D. Raymond)?

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