To Kill a Mockingbird

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Scout asks Aunt Alexandra if she's come for a visit, and aunty says that she and Atticus have decided that it's best if she stays with them for a while, as Scout needs some "Feminine influence"(13.10). Scout has trouble making any kind of conversation with her aunt. That evening Atticus comes home and confirms Aunt Alexandra's reason for her coming to stay, though Scout thinks it's mostly her aunt's doing, part of her long campaign to do "What Is Best For The Family"(13.22). Aunt Alexandra is popular in Maycomb and takes a leading role in the feminine social circles, even though she makes obvious her belief that the Finches are superior to everyone else. Aunt Alexandra is a firm believer in Streaks - each family has one, though Scout doesn't really understand her aunt's obsession with heredity. The history of the town suggests that Aunt Alexandra is not totally crazy: its location far away from the river forms the area's main transportation route. That means that hardly anyone ever moves to Maycomb or away from it. Because of this, families have known each other for generations, establishing the reputations which Aunt Alexandra refers to as "Streaks." Scout mostly ignores her aunt, but occasionally gets called in to make an appearance at a luncheon or tea. At one such event, Scout fails to recognize a woman as her cousin, prompting her aunt to try to instill some family pride into the Finch children. After this, Aunt Alexandra sends Atticus to talk to the kids about being proud of their superior heritage, but he just scares them because he doesn't usually talk to them in that manner. Scout ends up crying on his lap, and Atticus tells them both to forget it. After overhearing a passer-by's cryptic comment, Scout asks Atticus what rape is. Atticus defines it for her as "Carnal knowledge of a female by force and without consent" (14.5) Scout doesn't really get what that means, and asks Atticus why Calpurnia wouldn't explain it to her, leading to the story of how...
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