To Kill a Mockingbird Reader’s Notes
“’It’s not necessary to tell all you know. It’s not lady-like in the second place, folks don’t like to have somebody around knowin’ more than they do. It aggravates ‘em. You’re not gonna change any of them by talkin’ right, they’ve got to want to learn themselves, and when they don’t want to learn there’s nothing you can do but keep your mouth shut or talk their language’” –Calpurnia was speaking to Scout (Pg. )
In this passage, Lee is using Calpurnia to articulate the attitude of a lot of people at the time in which the story takes place, and also outline one of the themes of the story. I think she is saying that people don’t like to be told how to think or act, and don’t like when people act superior, because they think too highly of themselves. This is a direct reflection of the view Maycomb folk had of Atticus’s choice to defend Tom Robinson. “They” are “aggravated” that Atticus’s moral compass, which tells him to protect whoever he feels is innocent under the law, has caused him to fall off the bandwagon, and they are “not gonna change.” And since they don’t want to hear what Atticus has to say, even though they may learn the truth, they expect him to not make the affairs public, or switch to their side or “speak their language.”
”We laughed. Haints, Hot Steams, incantations, secret signs, had vanished with our years as mist with sunrise.” (Pg. 254)
Lee expresses one of the main themes of this story through this passage. This being the theme of what it means to grow up. In the beginning of the story, Jem and Scout were terrified of the very idea of Boo Radley even though there knowledge of him was based on hearsay and gossip.. By the time this scene occurs, the kids still agree that house gives them the creeps, and they aren’t too comfortable with the idea of meeting Boo, but they almost laugh about the immaturity of their fear. This sentence speaks to how, over the course of the story, they...
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