Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

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In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee introduces two families that reside on the outskirts of Maycomb County. The Ewells and the Cunninghams, two of the poorest families in Maycomb, despite their physical similarities are two very differently viewed families. The Ewells are despised because of their physical and behavioral filth while the Cunninghams are respected by the inhabitants of Maycomb County. They are both part of the lower class but they portray themselves differently, this is because they have different moral codes. The Ewells for many generations have lived off of the County Welfare; they take anything they can get without paying back the community unlike the Cunninghams whose moral code is not to take anything without being able to pay it back. The Ewells see themselves as victims of the community but instead the Cunninghams see themselves as a part of the community that they want to contribute too. The Cunninghams "are country folks, farmers, the crash hit them hardest" (Lee 27). They live very poorly but in Atticus' opinion "professional people were poor because the farmers were poor." (Lee 27) and they were considered as professional people. The Cunninghams were poor due to the great depression but still felt the need to give to the community because they felt that they were a part of it. Walter Cunningham who was a part of Scout's first grade class did not have much, in fact his "face told everybody in the first grade he had hookworms. His absence of shoes told us how he got them." (Lee 25). Also even though the Cunninghams were poor they still exhibited some form of class because Walter "did have on a clean shirt and neatly mended overalls." (Lee 25), when he attended school. The Cunninghams "don't have... ... middle of paper ... ...esults in the disrespectful, rude, abusive, and impolite behavior that possess them. Although the Cunninghams and Ewells are both poor families who struggle to feed their children their moral codes differ thus making them have many differences. The Cunninghams believe in reciprocity and do not take interest in what they gain from helping others, while the Ewells believe they are victims of Maycomb County. Their living situations make their behavior more evident. The Cunninghams living on a farm naturally work hard for their goods, but because of their poverty they only take what they can give back. The Ewells take advantage of the people in Maycomb; Bob Ewell uses his relief checks for alcohol. The principle that the Cunninghams respect is the same principle the Ewells ignore. Works Cited Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: Grand Central, 1960. Print.

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