Calpurnia a character analysis by Andrew and Lauren

Use this mindmap to articulate the important qualities about the character you are studying.

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Calpurnia a character analysis by Andrew and Lauren by Mind Map: Calpurnia a character analysis by Andrew and Lauren


1.1. Aunt Alexandra sees Calpurnia as a slave and a waste of time

1.1.1. "Put my bag in the front bedroom, Calpurnia" was the first thing Aunt Alexandra said" pg.140 Aunt Alexandra never really liked Calpurnia. An influence on this hatred was because she was black. She always thought that she was a waste of time. If she could be in charge of the family the first thing that she would do would be fire her.

1.2. Black community sees her as one of them, and not as someone who works with white people

1.2.1. 'That's why you don't talk like the rest of 'em,' said Jem. 'The rest of who?' [Calpurnia] 'Rest of the coloured folks, Cal, but you talked like they did in church...' pg. 138 'Cal,' I asked, 'why do you talk nigger-talk to the - to your folks when you know it's not right?' 'Well, in the first place I'm black-' 'That doesn't mean you hafta talk that way when you know better,' said Jem. pg. 139 Calpurnia acts like most people do in the black community. She acts in a different way that she does when around Atticus, Jem and Scout, so as to help fit in better with the other black peoples.

1.3. Part of the family

1.3.1. Atticus' voice was even: 'Alexandra, Calpurnia's not leaving this house until she wants to. You may think otherwise, but I couldn't have got along without her all these years. She's a faithful member of this family and you'll simply have to accept things the way they are. Besides, sister, I don;t want you working your head off for us - you've no reason to do that. We still need Cal as much as we ever did.' pg.150 Since the death of Atticus' wife, Calpurnia has been charged with taking care of the kids, so much so that now she has become a mother figure to them. Atticus now views her as more important to Jem and Scout than his own sister.


2.1. Motherly figure to Scout and Jem

2.1.1. "She was always ordering me out of the kitchen, asking me why i couldn't behave as well as Jem when she knew he was older and calling me home when i wasn't ready to come. Our battles were epic and one-sided. Calpurnia always won, mainly because Atticus always took her side. She had been with us ever since Jem was born, and i had felt her tyrannical presence as long as i can remember" pg6 Since Scout and Jem's mother has been long dead, Calpurnia has made herself the mother that kids never had growing up. She treats them like her own as she is a mother after all.

2.2. Protective

2.2.1. Lula stopped, but she said, 'ou ain't got no business bringin' white chillun here - they got their church, we got our'n. It is our church, ain't it, MIss Cal?' Calpurnia said, 'It's the same God, ain't it?' Jem said, 'Let's go home, Cal, they don't want us here -' I agreed: they did not want us here. I sensed, rather than drawing closer to us, but when I looked up at Calpurnia there was amusement in here eyes. When I looked down the patheway again, Lula was gone. In her place was a solid mass of coloured people. p. 131 Again tying into her presence as a motherly figure, Calpurnia is very protective of Scout and Jem, and not afraid to stand up for them in public.

2.3. Superstitious

2.3.1. " Calpurnia stared, the grabbed us by the shoulders and ran us home. She shut the wood door behind us, went to the telephone and shouted. 'This is Cal. I swear to God there's a mad dog down the street a piece - he's comin' this way, yes sir, he's - Mr Finch, i declare he is - old Tim Johnson, yes sir...yessir...yes - ' pg 103 When the mad dog comes to town Calpurnia gets really protective over Scout and Jem acting like they could get the mad dog disease


3.1. Proud

3.1.1. Suddenly she smiled. 'How'd you and Mister Jem like to come to church with me tomorrow?' 'Really?' 'How 'bout it?' If Calpurnia had ever bathed me roughly before, it was nothing compared to her supervision of that Saturday night's routine. She made me soap all over twice, drew fresh water in the tub for each rinse; she stuck my head in the basin and washed it with Octagon soap and castile. She had trusted Jem for years, but that night she invaded his privacy and provoked an outburst: 'Can't anybody take a bath in this house without the whole family lookin'?' pg Calpurnia is proud of being part of the black community, and wants to have Jem and Scout clean and proper for the next day's outing.

3.2. Lonely

3.2.1. 'I missed you today,' she said. 'The house got so lonesome 'long about two o'clock I had to turn on the radio.' 'Why? Jem'n me ain't ever in the house unless it's rainin'.' 'I know,' she said, 'but one of you's always in callin' distance. I wonder how much of the day I spend just callin' after you.' pg 32 Calpurnia feels lonely without Scout or Jem, because she is very much part of the family, and they are very much part of hers. Even without them being around her much, she still feels a connection with Scout and Jem.

3.3. Annoyed

3.3.1. Atticus and Calpurnia met us downstairs. Calpurnia looked peeved, but Atticus looked exhausted. Jem was jumping in excitement. 'We've won, haven't we?' ... (cont.) Calpurnia marched us home: '-skin every one of you alive, the very idea, you children listenin' to all that! Mister Jem, don't you now better'n to take your little sister to that trial? Miss Alexandra'll absolutely have a stroke of paralysis when she finds out! Ain't fittin' for children to hear...' pg. 228-229 Calpurnia is annoyed when Jem and Scout go out of their way to do against what she has told them. As a motherly figure, Calpurnia does not consider a rape trial to be a particularly age-appropriate place for two young people to be. She is also annoyed in this instance, because in them (Jem and Scout) breaking the rules, Calpurnia is implicated in not having looked out for them


4.1. Black

4.1.1. ''Cal,' I asked 'why do you talk nigger-talk to the- to your folks when you know its not right?' 'Well in the first place i'm black - 'That doesn't mean you hafta talk that way when you know better,' said Jem pg.139 Towards the end of the book we find our that Calpurnia is a black woman. She tries to fit into the white community by talking the way whites talk, but when she is around the black community she talks they way the blacks talk.

4.2. Not particularly young (she looks hardened and weary)

4.2.1. Calpurnia was something else again. She was all angles and bones; she was near-sighted; she squinted; her hand was wide as a bed slat and twice as hard. pg 6 We get the sense that Calpurnia is the young cook in the family but really she isn't. She has a kid herself and knows how to look after Scout and Jem well when Atticus is at work.

4.3. But yet relatively young (surface appearances)

4.3.1. 'Where'd you go to school, Cal?' asked Jem. 'Nowhere. Let's see now, who taught me my letters? It was Miss Maudie Atkinson's aunt, old Miss Buford-' 'Are you *that* old?' 'I'm older than Mr Finch, even.' Calpurnia grinned. pg 137 ... 'But Cal,' Jem protested, you don't look even near as old as Atticus.' 'Coloured folks don't show their ages so fast,' she said. pg 138 Calpurnia, although she certainly doesn't look like she's in her 20s, looks far younger than her estimated age of 50.