Chapter 13 to kill a mockingbird summary and analysis

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To kill a mocking bird
analysis and summary
Chapter 13
Aunt Alexandra has decided (and convinced Atticus) it would be best for the family
if she stays with them for "a while," which worries Scout even though she knows
there's nothing to be done. Aunt Alexandra establishes herself in the neighborhood
and continues to pester the children about what they should and should not do.
She is old-fashioned and proper, and often refers to the people of Maycomb in
light of their family history. She seems to believe that behaviors and character
traits are hereditary, passed on from one generation to the next - one family might
have a Gambling Streak, or a Mean Streak, or a Funny Streak. She also judges
families on the basis of how long they have been settled in the same place. Those
who have stayed on the same land for many generations are deemed "Fine Folks,"
whereas Scout always thought that "Fine Folks" were those who "did the best
they could with the sense they had." Scout reasons that in Aunt Alexandra's eyes,
the Ewells, who are very poor, are "Fine Folks," because they have stayed on the
same land by the town dump for three generations, which clearly is not the case.
Scout remembers how Maycomb was founded around an old tavern run
by a man named Sinkfield. Its location was very far inland and away from the only
form of transportation in that day - riverboats. Thus, the original town families
tended to intermarry a great deal, until most people looked fairly similar in the
town. Newcomers arrived rarely, and when a new person married a Maycomb
family, the new genes were noticeable. Most old people still know each other so
well that every behavior is somewhat predictable and repetitive.
Aunt Alexandra wants the children to know all about the Finch family and uphold
its genteel heritage, but Atticus has not introduced them to the entirety of their
family history, and instead has told them amusing stories, such as how their cousin
Josh went insane at university. Aunt Alexandra tries to pressure Atticus into telling
the children why they should behave and "live up to your name." Atticus makes an
attempt, but when Scout begins to get upset with this strange side of her father
she has never seen before, he returns to his original principles and finds himself
incapable of passing on what Aunt Alexandra deems important. Scout is relieved
when her father returns to the same old Atticus, and says she knew what he was
trying to do, but that "it takes a woman to do that kind of work."


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