Who Is Burris Ewell In To Kill A Mockingbird

Who Is Burris Ewell In To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird, written by Harper Lee, is a classic American novel that explores themes of injustice, racism, and coming of age. Set in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930s, the story is narrated by Scout Finch, a young girl who learns valuable life lessons through her interactions with various characters in the town. One of these characters is Burris Ewell, a member of the notorious Ewell family. In this article, we will explore the character of Burris Ewell and his significance within the narrative.

Burris Ewell is introduced to the readers early in the novel when Scout starts her first day of school. He is described as a filthy and unkempt boy, who has a reputation for being one of the most unruly and insolent students in the class. Burris is a member of the Ewell family, who are among the poorest and most despised residents of Maycomb. They live in a rundown shack near the town dump, and are known for their lack of cleanliness and disruptive behavior.

As a character, Burris Ewell represents the social hierarchy and division within Maycomb. The Ewell family is considered the lowest rung of society, living in extreme poverty and often resorting to illegal activities to survive. Burris embodies the negative stereotypes associated with the Ewells, such as laziness, ignorance, and defiance of authority. His appearance and behavior serve as a stark contrast to the more orderly and respectable citizens of Maycomb, such as the Finches.

However, it is important to note that Burris Ewell is not purely a two-dimensional villain. He is a product of his environment and upbringing, which greatly influences his behavior. Living in poverty and experiencing neglect from his family, Burris lacks the structure, discipline, and proper education that many other children in Maycomb have access to. This contributes to his rebellious and disrespectful attitude.

Throughout the novel, Burris Ewell’s interactions with Scout and her classmates provide insights into the harsh realities of life for some members of Maycomb society. On her first day of school, Scout’s teacher, Miss Caroline Fisher, attempts to discipline Burris for his filthy condition. Burris responds defiantly, using racially derogatory language, which shocks Miss Caroline and the other students. This encounter not only reveals Burris’ abrasive personality but also exposes the prejudice and racism prevalent in Maycomb.

Furthermore, Burris Ewell’s behavior mirrors the attitudes and actions of his father, Bob Ewell, a central antagonist in the novel. Bob Ewell is a manipulative and racist individual, who falsely accuses Tom Robinson of assaulting his daughter, Mayella Ewell. Burris’ disrespectful nature and racial slurs reflect the toxic environment he has been brought up in, perpetuating the cycle of prejudice and ignorance within the Ewell family.

Despite his limited role in the overall narrative, Burris Ewell serves as a foil to Scout and her brother Jem, highlighting the stark differences in upbringing, values, and behavior between the two families. The Ewell family’s presence in the novel also underscores the deep-seated racism and injustice that pervades Maycomb society.

In conclusion, Burris Ewell is a complex character within Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. As a member of the Ewell family, he embodies the lowest social stratum and represents the damaging effects of poverty, neglect, and prejudice. While Burris may initially come across as a rude and unruly character, he ultimately serves as a reflection of the larger issues of inequality and racism that Harper Lee seeks to address in her timeless novel.

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