Why is Burris Ewell hateful toward Miss Caroline?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 3, Burris Ewell attends the first day of school, and a cootie crawls out of his hair. Miss Caroline is frightened at the sight of the cootie and tells Burris Ewell to go home and bathe. Burris responds by telling Miss Caroline that she cannot send him home and begins giving her attitude. After Burris refuses to sit down, Miss Caroline threatens to call the principal. Burris responds by cursing at his teacher and calls Miss Caroline a "snot-nosed slut of a schoolteacher" before leaving the class. Burris's comments make Miss Caroline cry, and he is portrayed as a disrespectful, ignorant child. The reason Burris Ewell acts disrespectfully and hateful towards Miss Caroline is because he is raised by a malevolent alcoholic. Burris's father, Bob Ewell, is the most despicable citizen in Maycomb, and he even attempts to murder Jem and Scout toward the end of the novel. Burris lacks a positive role model in his life and follows in his father's footsteps.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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