Aunt Alexandra makes her presence felt from the first day itself. Atticus returns home the same day. Aunt Alexandra settles down in the house. She becomes the secretary of the Maycomb Amanuensis Club and holds parties in the house. Whenever she does so, she summons Scout, to get her introduced to the guests. Aunt Alexandra’s attempts at instilling her sense of etiquette into the children is of no avail and Atticus has to speak to them about it. Atticus seems stern and gruff to the children who cannot understand this sudden change in his behavior. But finally, even he relents and allows the children to not take everything that Aunt says, too seriously.
Aunt Alexandra’s presence in the family is not immediately comforting since a lot of adjustments are required. The children, who have never been used to such a rigid upbringing, find themselves at a loss. Atticus has probably been pressurized by his sister to let her stay in his house, to rear the children better, but not being such a stickler to rules and codes of behavior himself, he too finds himself in a dilemma. Alexandra’s basic reasoning of things is right, but having no children of her own, she is not able to comprehend their true nature, and so, many uncomfortable situations ensue. It is Atticus’ practical and non-conforming nature that lets the children believe that things are not as bad as they seem.
Scout asks Atticus the meaning of rape and is given a perfunctory, yet technically correct answer. Further discussion discovers their trip to the blacks’ church. Aunt Alexandra is outraged at this. Later Scout overhears her father and her aunt discuss her. Aunt Alexandra feels that Calpurnia shouldn’t be allowed to work in the house anymore, but Atticus refuses to let her go. Jem advises Scout not to irritate their father as he has too many things in his mind. His advising her seems too high-handed for Scout, who ends up quarreling with him.
Scout discovers something warm and resilient on the floor, and together with Jem she discovers Dill under the bed. Atticus is immediately summoned, who insists on informing his Aunt Rachel about his escape. Dill stays there overnight, and Scout is pleased to have her friend back.
Aunt Alexandra reveals her narrow-minded puritan approach by her distress at the children attending Church with Calpurnia. Atticus, though, not in accordance with her, in any case does not allow Scout to be ill mannered with her, and insists on an apology from her. He is sensitive enough to insist on not throwing out Calpurnia, knowing full well her worth and the children’s proximity to her.
Jem, at a mature stage, seems to understand his father’s tensions and wishes to ease them as far as possible. His reasoning, however, is unheeded by Scout: Jem advising her is something she still cannot digest.
Dill’s return is a harbinger of better times for Scout. She hopes that the three of them can get together as they used to, and enjoy themselves.
Dill with all his fantastic stories, is a pathetic character; a child seeking love and attention, who builds up stories boost his self-esteem.
TheBestNotes Staff. "TheBestNotes on To_Kill_A_Mockingbird_Study_Guide".
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