To Kill a Mockingbird Quote Analysis

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To Kill A Mockingbird Quote Analysis Theme: Social Inequality (Chapter 16) “She waited until Calpurnia was in the kitchen, then she said, “Don’t talk like that in front of them.” “Talk like what in front of whom?” He asked. “Like that in front of Calpurnia. You said Braxton Underwood despises Negroes right in front of her.” “Well I’m sure Cal knows it. Everybody in Maycomb knows it.” I was beginning to see a subtle change in my father these days, that came out when he talked with Aunt Alexandra. It was a quiet digging in, never outright irritation. There was a faint starchiness in his voice when he said, “Anything fit to say at the table’s fit to say in front of Calpurnia. She knows what she means to this family.” Analysis: Social inequality is a major theme in TKAM and this quote is an example of how Harper Lee is trying to show it. Aunt Alexandra initiates this conversation with Atticus while Calpurnia is serving the Finches their breakfast. The most obvious point of inequality in this quote is that the black maid is serving them. Using the word “them” instead of say Cal’s name insinuates that Aunt Alexandra feels that if you are referring to one black, you are referring to them all. She treats them all like one group, as if they are not all individuals and their names are waste of her time. Atticus is also expected to understand who Aunt Alexandra meant by “them” but didn’t, and that is another thing that shows how different Atticus is from the normal southern man. Aunt Alexandra shows that she doesn’t mind being rude to Calpurnia while she is bossing her and giving her chores to do, but she won’t talk about race in front of Cal, fearing she will offend her. Aunt Alexandra also doesn’t like talking about white people hating black people in front of Calpurnia because she thinks Cal will start thinking anti-white thoughts towards her and Atticus.
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