How would you describe the Cunninghams in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?

2 Answers

katemschultz's profile pic

katemschultz | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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The Cunninghams fall into the category of the "working poor" in Maycomb. They are farmers that have been hit hard by the Depression. However, they are a proud family and will not take anything they cannot pay back, as is evidenced when Walter Cunningham, one of Scout's classmates, refuses to take a quarter from Miss Caroline to pay for lunch. Atticus has done some legal work for Mr. Walter Cunningham, Senior, and Mr. Cunningham repaid Atticus with goods from the farm--the only way he could repay Atticus.

gmuss25's profile pic

gmuss25 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The Cunninghams are a hard-working family who have integrity and respect for others throughout the community. They are poor farmers who have suffered economically during the Great Depression. They choose to barter for services throughout the community instead of paying cash. They never take what they cannot pay back, which is evident when Walter Cunningham Jr. refuses to take a quarter from his teacher because he knows he cannot return it the next day. They understand the value of hard work, and Walter Cunningham Jr. is knowledgeable regarding crops, the land, animals, and any type of farming equipment. They dress, act, and eat informally which is evident by Walter Cunningham's table manners. Mr. Cunningham is from Old Sarum and has a tendency to "follow the crowd" which is why he becomes influenced by "mob mentality" in Chapter 15. Nonetheless, Mr. Cunningham is an understanding, respectful individual who treats others the way he would want to be treated.