In chapter two, why are professional people suffering in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a good question, but it might be misdirected to a certain extent. In this chapter there are people suffering, but it is not really mentioned that they are professional. In fact, the professional people seem fine - Scout's family and Scout's teacher are hanging in there. 

The person that stands out as suffering is Walter Cummingham. He is a boy in Scout's class. When it is time for lunch on the first day of school, Walter did not have anything to eat. When his teacher offers him money to buy some food, he refuses. The Cumminghams do not like to borrow anything that they cannot pay back. All of this speaks of poverty and suffering. Part of the reason for this is that Maycomb is not a wealthy area. 

Also there is a physical description of Walter. He had no shoes on and his clothes were dirty. There is even mention of him possibly having hookworms. So, if there is any suffering, it is by people like the Cumminghams and not so much professional people. 

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.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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