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To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee: A Character Analysis of Calpurnia

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In Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, Calpurnia is the caretaker of Atticus Finch’s children, Scout and Jem, as well as a cook and housekeeper. Cal makes a strong effort to teach the children her morals and values. Cal displays kindness to many individuals throughout the novel. When the infectious dog comes into the neighborhood she makes sure to warn everyone about it. Cal’s kindness results in Atticus keeping her to be their housekeeper, and Atticus chooses to take Cal to tell Helen, Tom Robinson’s wife, the news of his death after his trial that accused him of raping Mayella Ewell. Calpurnia’s asset to take care of other characters and help them out impacted Atticus’ decisions.

Throughout the novel Calpurnia is frequently kind to everyone. She is one character that you can always rely on. Toward the middle of the novel, Calpurnia is watching Scout and Jem while Atticus is at work. Jem and Scout tell Cal that there is a dog on the street and it needs their help. When Cal further examines the dog from a distance, she figures out that the dog does not need their help. It was rabid. Calpurnia tries to warn everyone in the neighborhood about the rabid dog. During the chaos, Scout states, “Calpurnia’s message had been received by the neighborhood. Every wood door within our range of vision was closed tight” (124). In doing this, Cal wanted to make sure everyone in the neighborhood was protected from the dog. Even though Atticus was at work, Cal still wanted him to know that Jem and Scout were safe. Calpurnia was not familiar with some of the neighbors but still wanted to help them.

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Atticus had been majorly affected by Calpurnia’s kindness. Atticus has learned to understand Calpurnia it has grown fairly close to her. Tom Robinson has just been shot 17 times while trying to run from the police station. Because Atticus was Tom’s defense attorney, he felt the need to inform Helen Robinson, Tom’s wife, of Tom’s death. Before he goes to tell Helen, Atticus goes home to tell Scout, Miss Madi, Calpurnia, and Aunt Alexandra of the death. Add to kiss takes cow over in a different room and says, “ cal, I want you to come out with me and help me tell Helen” (315). Add a kiss could’ve chosen anyone to go with him to break the bad news to Helen, but he chose Calpurnia. Atticus trusts and knows how dice Cal is. He wanted Helen Robinson to be comforted.

Cal positively impacts Atticus throughout the book through her kindness. Cal shows kindness when she notifies everyone about the dog, even people who don’t like her. Atticus realizes that Cal is well respected through the eyes of both whites and the blacks. Cal’s role in the novel helped Atticus realize the importance of kindness.


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