To Kill A Mocking Bird By LeeIn the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, there are two familiesthat are textbook examples of complete opposites on the moral ladder, and in thecommunity. The Cunninghams and the Ewells have two distinctly differentreputations. The Cunninghams, although extremely poor, are highly respectedthroughout Maycomb County. The Ewells, being just as poor as the Cunninghams,are deeply despised. The Cunninghams are very respected by the citizens ofMaycomb.
They take nothing, unless they can pay it back, and that is virtuallynothing. On the first day of school, the youngest of the Cunningham family,Walter, had no lunch. The new teacher didn’t know the ways of Maycomb, or theCunninghams. She tried to offer Walter money to buy lunch, and could notcomprehend why he could not accept. Scout tries to explain to Ms.
Caroline,”Walter’s one of the Cunninghams, Ms. Caroline. They never took nothiin’they can’t give back-no church baskets, no scrip stamps. They never took nothingoff anybody, they get along with what they have. They don’t have much, but theyget along on it. ” Walter knew he could not pay back the quarter, so he didnot take it.
On that same first day of class, Bob Ewell’s son Burris also had analtercation with Miss Caroline. She asked him to go home and wash his hair withlye soap, and then treat his scalp with kerosene to get rid of the”cooties. ” Burris would have none of it. He told Miss Caroline that hewas on the virge of leaving anyway. When Miss Caroline questioned his response,one member of the class tried to explain, “He’s one of the Ewells ma’am.
Whole school’s full of ’em. They come the first day every year and then leave. The truant lady gets ’em here ’cause she threatens ’em with the sheriff. . .
. You’re supposed to mark ’em absent the rest of the year. ” Burris’ fatherwas a uncaring, jobless, drunk, who never even pretended to care about theeducation or well being of his many children. Walter Cunningham(Sr. ), along withmost whites before the trial, believed Tom Robinson to be guilty. He showed upat the jail where Tom Robinson was being held, with all intentions to kill Tom.
After a one sided conversation with Scout, Mr. Cunningham realizes that he hasno reason to be at the jail, and has even less of a reason to use his rifle. BobEwell cost Maycomb two lives, while Mr. Cunningham, at least for a while, savedone.
Among the many things Bob Ewell had little value for, human existenceproved to be right at the top. After finding his daughter Mayella kissing TomRobinson (a black man), Bob accused Tom of raping and beating his daughter,though he had done it himself. After being found guilty, Tom Robinson was shotwhile supposedly trying to escape. All Bob Ewell could think about however wasthe fact that his word was held in only a slightly higher standing than that ofa black man. He tried to kill Scout and Jem for retribution against Atticus, buteventually was killed himself by Aurthur “Boo” Radley.