Calpurnia is a key character in To Kill a Mockingbird, she shows the children the true side of coloured people and that they shouldn’t believe everything they hear about her community. She comes off as a gruff character but throughout the novel, a kind hearted, caring character is revealed. Even though she tries very hard to show the children that black and white people are equal she acts differently when she is interacting with black or white people making it very difficult for Jem and Scout to listen to her.
The first time Calpurnia is shown to the reader, ‘she was all angles and bones; her hand was as hard as a bed slat and twice as hard.’ Scout tells us that she is the motherly figure of the Finch family, ‘I’ll tell Calpurnia on you,’ and that she is very hard on the children, ‘I had felt her tyrannical presence as long as I could remember.’ As Jem and Scout get older, Calpurnia becomes more benevolent and compassionate towards them.
Calpurnia also attempts to teach the children not to be racist. She takes the Finches to the black church and acts like it’s nothing special despite what other people may say, ‘you ain’t got no business bringin’ white chillum here ' they got their church, we got our’n.’
Irrespective of her best efforts to teach the Finches that black and white people are equal and the same, Calpurnia has a split personality one for when she is around white people and one when she is around black people. Scout realises this, ‘I thought her voice strange,’
Calpurnia’s character shows that even though she tries her hardest to close the gap between the two races. The way she acts subconsciously shows how different the two societies are. Actions speak louder than words and Calpurnia’s actions show that it will take lots of time and dedication to integrate Maycomb County.