To Kill a Mocking Bird - Miss Caroline's PoV short story

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Page 14

Miss Caroline yelped and jumped back as bugs leaped out of the filthy child's head. His clothes were caked with mud, blackened fingernails, and he had a rusty looking neck; and to top it all off he had a head full of bugs. Miss Caroline ran to her desk almost in tears and a nice young boy brought her a cup of water.  "What is your name?" she asked. The child snorted a quick "Burris", and sat there quite scornfully. He simply stared at her and in pure disgust. Miss Caroline excused Burris for the day to go home and get rid of the bugs, but he just sat there. She had already excused him earlier but didn't understand why he was still there.

I reached into my desk and produced a thick volume of home remedies. Ahh here it was, lye soap and he'd clear these cooties, as the children called them, up. Burris just sat there for a while and then he spoke: "You ain't sendin' me home, missus. I was on the verge of leavin'-I done done my time for this year." What could the child possibly mean by that? He was required by law to stay in school. Based on his appearance I could tell he was poor, but that was no excuse to skip school. I guessed my face must have shown my confusion and someone stood up to console me. "He's one of the Ewells, ma'am. Whole school's full of 'em. They come first day every year and then leave. The truant lady gets 'em here 'cause she threatens 'em with the sheriff."

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So this was another one of the "special" cases, only difference was this child was mean to the bone. Poor Walter Cunningham simply couldn't go to school because he was forced to work his father's land. But this mean old Burris Ewell was something else; he was a different breed of person, if you could call him that.

I told Burris to sit back down. I would not have any truants on my hands. I had come to this town hoping to make a difference, but this first day of teaching here seemed like it would be my last. ...

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