To Kill a Mockingbird Questions and Answers
by Harper Lee

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Compare and contrast Walter Cunningham and Burris Ewell. Explain Harper Lee's message behind these two characters. 

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These two classmates of Scout's are some of the poorest in town, yet their differences are evident even from the way they present themselves:

Walter Cunningham is from a family who takes pride in being hardworking and honest. When Walter's father needed Atticus's legal expertise, he insisted on repaying him in the only way he was able: firewood, hickory nuts, and greens. Walter shows up for school clean and with a clear sense of self-respect:

Walter Cunningham’s face told everybody in the first grade he had hookworms. His absence of shoes told us how he got them. People caught hookworms going barefooted in barnyards and hog wallows. If Walter had owned any shoes he would have worn them the first day of school and then discarded them until mid-winter. He did have on a clean shirt and neatly mended overalls.

The Cunninghams don't have much and Walter can't even afford shoes, but he has a clean shirt and neat overalls in an effort to present himself well.

Walter also treats his teacher with...

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