To Kill A Mockingbird To Kill a Mockingbird In the mid 1900s there were many types of families. Some families cared not about what other people thought about what they did, but about if it seemed right to them. Other families did not care what people thought nor did they try to behave descent. And still the families who did their best with what they had. In the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, these three types of families seem best displayed in the Finches, Ewells, and Cunninghams.
To begin with, the Finch family, with only one parent, portrays a well-rounded family. First, Atticus Finch raises two children on his own. Jem and Scout, both basically good kids although they grew up with only one parent. They both usually do as Atticus says unless they believe in what they want to do. “Don’t go to him, he might not like it. He’s all right, lets go home.
I just wanted to see where he was.” (p.151) Also, Scout has difficulty becoming a young lady. She has no mother figure to show her how a lady should dress and act. Aunt Alexandra moves in with the Finch family to show Scout how to act more like a lady. “Jem’s growing up now and you are too. We decided it would be best for you to have some feminine influence.” (p.127) “Aunty had a way of declaring What is Best For The Family, and I suppose her coming to live with us was in that category” (p.129) Finally, Jem Finch grows up very responsible with Atticus’s influence very strong.
Though not having a mother figure also affects him in that in the beginning he has no respect for the way Scout should dress and act as a lady. Towards the end having Aunt Alexandra as a mother influence helps him to realize Scout’s role as a lady. “It’s time you started bein a girl and actin’ right!” (p. 115) Besides the Finches, the Ewell family, a disgrace to the town of Maycomb, lives in poverty and ignorance. To begin with, Robert Ewell, an abusive, hateful drunk, has no intellect or dignity whatsoever.
He lives with his seven children in an impoverished home behind the city dump. “No economic fluctuations changed their status-people like the Ewells lived as guests of the county in prosperity as well as in the depths of a depression” (p.170) Also, the seven children of Mr. Ewell do nothing all day. They don’t help Mayella keep things in order at their house. “I felt right sorry for her, she seemed to try more’n the rest of ’em-” (p.197) Then, Mayella Ewell, a lonely girl without a person in the world who cares for her, besides Tom Robinson, accuses her one friend of raping her.
Tom Robinson cares enough about Mayella to do odd jobs for her around the house without being paid a cent. Mayelle seemed so lonely she would befriend anyone who showed even the slightest bit of interest in her. “She’d call me in, suh. Seemed like every time I passed by yonder she’d have some little somethin’ for me to do-” (p.191) Just as the Ewells had little money, neither did the Cunninghams, but they did their best to be upstanding citizens. First, Walter Cunningham, a quiet boy, attends school with Scout. He may be poor, but he acts like a perfect gentleman. “The Cunninghams never took anything they could not pay back” (p.20) Also, Mr.
Cunningham, a friend of the Finch family, goes against Mr. Finch to try to kill Tom Robinson. Mr. Cunningham and a group of men come to kill Tom, but Scout, Jem, and Dill came and interrupted them. Scout went and talked to Mr. Cunningham and he called their raid off.
“Let’s clear out, lets get going, boys.” (p.154) Finally, the Cunningham family never borrows or takes anything they can not pay back. Mr. Finch did some entailments for Mr. Cunningham and Mr. Cunningham paid him with food.
The Finches, Ewells, and Cunninghams, all families in the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, have many similarities and differences. The Ewells and Cunninghams, both poor, seem different in that the Ewells display trash and ignorance, and the Cunninghams display good mannerisms. The Finches and Cunninghams both posses great manners, but the Cunninghams live in poverty whereas the Finches seem “comfortable.” The Ewells and the Finches have almost nothing in common. Of the many types of families in the mid 1900s, the Finches, Ewells, and the Cunninghams seem to be the three main types.