Empathy in To Kill A Mockingbird
Empathy is the theme which connects the reader with the characters in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird; the experiences of the characters in this novel show us the significance of empathy as a theme. Harper Lee writes about the experiences which Scout and Jem undergo in learning to be empathetic, while Atticus and Tom Robinson are two of the key characters who, at the time of the novel already possessed the ability to be empathetic. Atticus is the character who displays the most empathy towards others in the novel, and he is a primary example of the importance of this theme in the novel. Harper Lee writes about empathy mainly through Atticus and his ability to feel empathetic to others even in a situation where another is obviously in the wrong, and he has the right to retaliate. “Jem, see if you can stand in Bob Ewell’s shoes a minute.”pg. 241. Atticus uses his knowledge of a person’s background and circumstances to comprehend his or her actions. The reader can see Atticus recognises the importance of empathy in his own words to Scout “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view” pg. 33. Atticus is a distinguished example of a character with a natural ability to be empathetic. Harper Lee does not only write about empathy as something one possesses naturally, she writes about how Scout came to become empathetic. The theme of empathy was first introduced to the reader when Scout comes back from her first day of school upset the way her teacher treated her. Atticus reasons with Scout and encourages her to try to understand where her teacher was coming from. “If you learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.” pg. 33. Near the end of the novel, Scout is standing on the Radley Porch when she begins to see the past events from the eyes of Boo Radley. “It was daytime and the...
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