Poor Burris Ewell. He is definitely a product of his environment. He lives next door to the dump, has an abusive father, and there is very little hope for a bright future. He has taken on the qualities of his father; he is mean, abusive, and ignorant. Like his father, he has a nasty reputation with his peers and intentionally makes Miss Caroline cry on the first day of school. He comes to school on the first day only because the law requires it. He is dirty and has a head full of lice. He has probably been abused like his other seven brothers and sisters, and Burris must scavenge for basic necessities in the town dump. Burris’ mother’s whereabouts is unknown; she is either dead or has run off from her abusive situation. He has been raised by his sister, Mayella, and has probably not experienced much love or affection.
In the novel, Burris Ewell and his family are symbols of southern white poverty where the need to survive causes them to do desperate things for respect and power. This is also shown through Bob Ewell's attack on Scout and Jem, through his beating of Mayella, and through accusing Tom Robinson of rape. Burris is just following in his father's footsteps.