“Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever. ” (–Keri Russell) “If there is no struggle, there is no progress. ” (–Frederick Douglass) When you make a small effort to change your ways, there can be a greater impact on things and those around you, as shown through the characters of To Kill a Mockingbird. Although Scout has gone through some difficult relationship problems with women in the book, these women also influenced her well, setting good examples and being respectable role models. Therefore, Scout’s relationships change throughout the novel.
Miss Caroline Fisher is Scout’s young, first grade school teacher who is from Winston County, North Alabama. On the first day of school, Scout had already started out on the wrong foot. Ms. Fisher was surprised, but unhappy with Scout’s advanced reading and writing skills. She wouldn’t accept that Scout exceeded the first grade standards and seemed to believe that she could tell Scout what Atticus could teach her. “Miss Caroline caught me writing and told me to tell my father to stop teaching me. ‘Besides,’ she said. ‘We don’t write in the first grade, we print.
You won’t learn to write until you’re in third grade. ’” (18) Miss Caroline also wasn’t familiar with the town. She assumed that Maycomb was made up of ignorant people who didn’t know anything and she pre-judged the town, thinking she would come along and save the day. Her ideas disappeared quickly, finding out one student was already literate and many children didn’t respect her. Soon, she becomes insecure in her position and begins to take out her miscomprehensions on the students. “Miss Caroline said, ‘Sit back down, please, Burris,’ and the moment she said it I knew she had made a serious mistake.
The boy’s condescension flashed to anger. ” (27) Because of the way Miss Caroline acted towards Scout, telling her what she could and could not do, Scout didn’t have much respect for her. Scout had never really been bossed around before other than by Calpurnia. Miss Caroline would eventually realize what she has to do to earn the respect of her students, though she may never earn Scout’s back. Atticus spoke with Scout about stepping into the shoes of the teacher, being thrown into a whole new system, but when Miss Caroline was crying during school, Scout didn’t feel the need to go and cheer her up. ‘…You ain’t makin’ me go nowhere, missus. You just remember that, you ain’t makin’ me go nowhere! ’ He waited until he was sure she was crying, then he shuffled out of the building. ” Miss Caroline felt confident in the beginning of her new career, but soon realized the children didn’t respect her and she fell apart. Calpurnia is the Finch family’s housekeeper and like a mother towards Jem and Jean-Louise. The family loves and respects her, which is uncommon because she is a black woman. Calpurnia has a strong relationship with Scout and teaches her many life lessons.
Scout was taught by Calpurnia, who is literate, to write. She may fight with Scout, but they both know at the end of the day that they love each other and wouldn’t try to hurt each other. “Calpurnia bent down and kissed me. ” (29) A couple chapters into the book, Scout realizes Calpurnia is leading a “double-life. ” One day, she decides to take Jem and Scout with her to church and surprises them by talking “nigger-talk” to her folks. She explains to Jem and Jean-Louise that people don’t like having people around that know more than they do and that she has to adapt herself to the community that she’s in.
Scout begins to ask all kinds of questions, growing closer to Calpurnia while doing so. “That Calpurnia led a modest double life never dawned on me. The idea that she had a separate existence outside our household was a novel one, to say nothing of her having command of two languages. ” (125) When Scout gets into a fight with Walter Cunningham, a student in her class, Jem breaks up the fight and invites Walter over for dinner. That night, Scout is disrespectful towards Walter, asking him what he’s doing pouring molasses over all of his food, while Walter is poor and doesn’t have the privilege of eating a good meal every night.
Calpurnia then takes Scout to the kitchen and scolds her for what she said to Walter. “‘ But he’s gone and drowned his dinner in syrup,’ I protested…It was then that Calpurnia requested my presence in the kitchen…‘There’s some folks who don’t eat like us,’ she whispered fiercely…” (24) Calpurnia is a motherly figure towards the two children and, through the book, teaches the children to act with respect and not to judge others before they know them. Aunt Alexandra Hancock is Atticus’s sister and Jem and Jen-Louise’s aunt.
She is the total opposite of her easy-going brothers, Atticus and Jack. She is stubborn about not changing her mind about things or opinions about certain people. Aunt Alexandra is always thinking “What’s best for the family,” though some people may not agree. “‘But I want to play with Walter, Aunty, why can’t I? ’ She took off her glasses and stared at me. ‘I’ll tell you why,’ she said. ‘Because –he-is-trash, that’s why you can’t play with him…” (225) Later in the book, Aunt Alexandra comes to live with Atticus, Jem, Scout, and Calpurnia, while things are tough. Soon enough, Ms.
Hancock begins to state her opinions about things and how the house should be run. She wants to turn Scout into a lady, something Scout doesn’t want to be. Aunt Alexandra believes that “Family is Destiny-and that the Finches are Destined to be superior. ” She tri es to turn people into something they aren’t and only see’s things through her own eyes. “Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on my subject of attire. I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches; when I said I could do nothing in a dress, she said I wasn’t supposed to be doing things that required pants. (81) Aunt Alexandra seems to become more easy-going throughout the book and directs Scout on how to be a lady by example. Aunt Alexandra grows concerned for the family and argues with Atticus about defending Tom Robinson because it could put the family in serious danger, which it does. Bob Ewell drunkenly attacks Jem and Scout one night and she feels guilty and partly responsible for the incident. Aunt Alexandra and Scout grow closer near the end of the novel and she even gives Scout back her overalls. She brought me something to put on, and had I thought about it then, I would never let her forget it: in her distraction, Aunty brought me my overalls. ‘Put these on, darling,’ she said, handing me the garments she most despised. ” (264) Aunt Alexandra grew as a person through the novel, changing her way of thinking by trying to see things from other’s points of view and her way of treating others before she understood them. All in all, Scout has had a rough time with relationships, but she has also had very good and personal relationships.
I would consider all her relationships to be positive in some way because they have helped her grow into a kind, young lady. She has learned lessons from every lady by example and by teachings. Scout taught and was taught not to judge others on their appearances or from what you hear of them. Even in our world today, people judge others on their outside appearance, not on what really counts. We all need to learn to accept others; in this case, on the colour of their skin, and treat them as equals. Scout’s relationships have changed so much from where they started and mostly for the better.