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to kill a mockingbird

Explain Aunt Alexandra’s role in the novel. Include what she represents and what Scout and Jem learn from her, either good or bad.


Aunt Alexandra is Atticus's sister. She comes to live with his family in chapter 13 to influence Scout to dress and act like a proper Southern Belle. Aunt Alexandra represents traditional southern womanhood and is an austere, confident woman who has an affinity for her heritage and participates in social events with the local white ladies. She is a rather strict, elitist woman and views Scout with contempt for her tomboyish personality. Scout is intimidated by her aunt and compares to her Mount Everest. Alexandra also argues with her brother over how to properly raise Jem and Scout and is judgmental about who the children associate with. She also has an entirely different set of values and subscribes to a different ideology than Atticus. She does not agree with her brother's defense of Tom Robinson and believes that he is bringing shame on their family.

Despite Aunt Alexandra's rough edges and prim nature, she indirectly teaches Scout the importance of maintaining her composure when facing adversity and desires what is best for the children. Privately, Aunt Alexandra reveals her love for Atticus and is compassionate following Bob Ewell's vicious attack. Scout accepts that she will one day have to enter the world of women and begins to view Alexandra with a different perspective once she begins to mature.

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