What are the Cunninghams like?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Chapter 2 of To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout asks Walter Cunningham, "'Your daddy Mr. Walter Cunningham from Old Sarum?"

Walter looked as if he had been raised on fish food:  his eyes, as blue as Dill Harris's, were red-rimmed and watery. There was no color in his face except at the tip of his nose, which was mostly pink. He fingered the straps of his overalls, nervously picking at the metal hooks.

While the Cunninghams are not white trash, they are poor whites, paying Atticus for his services sometimes with potatoes or other vegetables or nuts. Their ancestors may have been indentured servants, or the may simply have been part of a family who were pushed off the good land to poorer land. Like many other poor whites, they look washed out due to poor diets. The Walter Cunninghams live out of town in the country near other relatives. But, unlike the Ewells, the Cunninghams have honor and pay their debts. Walter Cunningham always pays his debts.

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