Burris Ewell, Walter Cunningham, and Chuck Little are from poor families in To Kill a Mockingbird's Maycomb. What are differences... ... between them in appearance and attitude?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

These three boys in Scout's first grade classroom come from among the poorest families in Maycomb. Little Chuck Little and Walter Cunningham come from similar family backgrounds, while Burris Ewell's situation is slightly different. According to Scout, Walter obviously has hookworms.

His absence of shoes told us how he got them.

Walter apparently owned no shoes, and his "skinny jaw" revealed that he was usually hungry. He

... looked as if he had been raised on fish food: his eyes... were red-rimmed and watery. There was no color in his face...

However, unlike Burris, he was cleanly scrubbed and he "had on a clean shirt and newly-mended overalls."

Chuck Little, like Walter, "didn't know where his next meal was coming from, but he was a born gentleman." However, he does own a knife, which he nearly pulls on Burris when the Ewell boy insults the teacher, Miss Caroline.

Burris comes from Maycomb's worst family. He is dirty--"the filthiest human I'd ever seen"--lice-infested, confrontational and foul-mouthed. His father, Bob, drinks up the family welfare check, leaving his children hungry. Burris only comes to school on the first day each year--it's his third year in the first grade--hoping he'll eventually be promoted to the second grade. 

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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