Underprivileged People In To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee

Improved Essays
Scout learns that underprivileged people come in all different displays and sizes in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Scout grew up in a good, well-off family. However, when she starts school, she realizes there are many different types of people. There are both affluent and poor people in the school. Walter Cunningham and Burris Ewell are both poor children in her class. They may have similar financial statuses, but they contrast in their appearance, behavior, and their family background.
Outsetting with Walter, he tries to cover up his appearance with a clean shirt and neatly mended overalls. Despite this, it can’t cover up the fact that he has no shoes and has hookworms. “Walter Cunningham’s face told everyone in the first grade he
…show more content…
To start with, Walter does not want to borrow money from Miss Caroline because he knows that he can not ever pay her back. “Walter shook his head. ‘Nome thank you ma’am,’ he drawled softly” (25). Clearly, Walter is too embarrassed to show off his poorness and would rather starve himself rather than borrow money. In contrast, Burris lives life like an anomaly and does not care about what other people think of him, such as when he had lice. “Little Chuck grinned broadly. ‘There ain’t no need to fear a cootie, ma’am. Ain’t you ever seen one?’” (34). Burris, even though he has lice, acts like it is no big deal and tells Miss Caroline to continue her lesson. Scout learns from all this that some poor people hide the fact that they have no money while others show it off like it is a trophy. She also realizes that poor people have many different behaviors and …show more content…
To begin with, the Cunninghams, though being penniless, still honor agreements and still show respect towards others. They never borrow any money, but if someone does something good for them, such as feed their son, they will repay the people with crops, wood, and anything else they can manage. Atticus helped Mr. Cunningham and instead of paying him with money, over the course of a year, he gave them payment in different forms. “We watched. One morning Jem and I found a load of stovewood in the back yard. Later, a sack of hickory nuts appeared on the back steps. With Christmas came a crate of smilax and holly. That spring when we found a crokersack full of turnip greens, Atticus said Mr. Cunningham had more than paid him” (27). Regardless of the fact that the Cunninghams are so poor, they do not allow any good deed to go unrewarded. Contrary to that, the Ewells have no mother and their father is an alcoholic. This results in the children having no discipline and being able to do whatever they would like. This was shown when Burris verbally harassed Miss Caroline in the classroom to the point where she started crying. “He waited until he was sure she was crying, then he shuffled out of the building.” (37). This shows Burris’ rebellious nature and his family’s inability to stop his behavioral issues. Overall, Scout learns that the families of underprivileged people could just be admirable people who got

Related Documents

  • Superior Essays

    Unoka only cares about enjoying his life and being happy doing what he loves as stated “He was lazy and improvident and was quite incapable of thinking about tomorrow. If any money came his way, and it seldom did, he immediately bought gourds of palm-wine, called round his neighbors and made merry.” (Achebe 4). Unoka only cares about being happy and stays away from his family because he does not want to be accountable for taking care of any of them and just wants to enjoy them. Consequently, the village hates him for not wanting to own up to providing for the family, including Okonkwo. Another example of a person who is like Unoka and does not want to follow the societal norms, is Nwoye, Okonkwo’s son.…

    • 1560 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Poverty In Arizona

    • 760 Words
    • 4 Pages

    In the film Born with a Wooden Spoon it stated “when poor children return to school in the fall and they’re tested with along with their classmates, poor children have lost test points over the summer.” Meaning that they have fallen behind to the middle and upper class students. With middle and upper class children they are more exposed to cultural things such as camps and museums. While poor children do not have the resources to do such activities. For this reason the poor children fall more behind with their test scores due to the fact that their education sense does not continue over the…

    • 760 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Kill A Mockingbird Empathy

    • 1172 Words
    • 5 Pages

    She gets scolded and in her defense she says “‘He ain’t company, Cal, he’s just a Cunningham’”(Lee 33). Harper Lee is displaying the town 's way of thinking through the views of an innocent little girl who is growing up in it. They forget to have empathy for people attached to a disgraced family, or even worse black people, because of the stereotypes attached to them. All in all, the author is showing the reader how much discrimination is within the town and how little compassion and empathy the people have for others. As scout grows up and learns from her father Atticus, she understands more…

    • 1172 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Child Labor

    • 818 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Many of them have being forced to drop out of school due to poverty. “In the region, the majority of working children are said to be girls, rural children, and children from poor households” (Aramide). Many parents consider that girls should be the ones working while boys go to school. They believe that if boys go to school and success, their future will be better. They don’t believe in education for all, either boy or girl.…

    • 818 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Poverty, a prevalent issue in developed, first-world countries is often forgotten and hidden amongst the well off middle class and modern infrastructure in cities. This is a problem hidden in plain sight, yet many fail to notice. For many Native Americans, this harsh reality is their daily life. Poverty is a heavily discussed theme in Sherman Alexie’s novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. Due to the underfunding of schools on the reserve, Junior decides to attend Reardan High, an all-white school where the majority of students are from well off middle class families, a stark contrast from the reservation.…

    • 1110 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Unfair Power There are many teachers who do not truly care about the overall prosperity of the student and lack passion in their work. For example, during my sophomore year of high school I had a class with a foreign student who asked our teacher for help. This student was clearly struggling and actively trying to learn the topic, but the teacher decided to mock his accent rather than assist. Another example would be the time I was having a rough day in class and I told my teacher that I couldn’t come up in front of the class. I was having a panic attack and I was clearly uncomfortable, but instead of letting me cool down he decided to get in my face and patronize me which caused me to leave the classroom in tears.…

    • 928 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The only people in his life that could care for his wellbeing and how he is being effected are Andrea and maybe possibly Carwin. But just like Sergeant X’s wife, brother and mother in law, they show no empathy, and could care less. Andrea shows she really does not care for Pronek, as she just up and leaves, in order to get some space, and Carwin would rather play tecmo bowl or watch sitcom reruns than listen to the peril that his roommates’ loved ones may be going through. Andrea and Carwin have no empathy for Pronek at all. The way death effects Pronek and X are also different as well, in the fact that it instills in Pronek the hope of his families’ safety.…

    • 2002 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Crooks still wants attention or or someone to talk to, but he will never admit it. Crooks prefers to shun the world before the world can shun him. With that mentality Crooks ends up setting himself for a lonely life without anyone to care for him emotionally or…

    • 728 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Lear feels like he has no home because his two eldest daughters have exiled him from their homes. Lear retiring and not having control over anything anymore has made him go a little mad. His madness is directly related to his family and “in Shakespeare 's time the insane [the people who go mad] were taken care of at home by their families” (Bennett 142). His family was not willing to house him and that played a role in his madness when he goes off into the storm. Lear obviously cannot have a home if neither of his two daughters are willing to take him in and care for him.…

    • 1285 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Reluctantly he obeys, mainly thinking of his autistic brother Jeremy being left alone, he immediately regrets his decision. Quick to escalate, her behavior continues to lack responsibility, and Jeremy is neglected once again. After getting bailed out of jail, Jeremy is left alone where he nearly burns down the house. In rage, Joe confronts his mother about her decision making and her response is little to none. Minimal involvement is reflected from the mom, which shows her lackluster care for anyone but herself.…

    • 967 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays

Related Topics