Too much Compassion puts oneself in danger
In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee tells the story of a little girl, scout, growing up in a small town south of Alabama during the 1930’s. Scout, with her brother Jem and friend Dill, grow up in a town that has prejudice, racism, and hierarchy. Along the way, they learn how bad racism and prejudice can get. Atticus, the father of Jem and Scout, teaches the children about right and wrong. Atticus gets assign to a case about a negro, Tom Robinson, convicted of rape. Through Tom Robinson, Atticus Finch, and Boo Radley, Lee suggests that when compassion for another becomes greater than the consideration of self, will endanger one’s life and ruin his/her reputation.
Because of Tom Robinson’s compassion for Mayella Ewell, he gets convicted of rape and dies for it. Tom Robinson decides to help out Bob Ewell’s daughter, Mayella, since she looks like she needed help. He helps her chop chiffarobes and kindling every time Tom passes her house. During the trial, as Mr. Gilmer questions Tom Robinson, Mr. Gilmer asks Robinson, “Why were you so anxious to do that woman’s chores?” and Robinson responds, “Looked like she didn’t have nobody to help her……. I felt sorry for her, she seemed to try more’n the rest of ‘em” (197). Mr. Gilmer then replies, “You felt sorry for her, you felt sorry for her?” (197). Clearly Tom has endangered his life ever since he started helping Mayella. When Mayella asks Tom to help her chop her chiffarobes and kindling, Tom accepts to help her without thinking that Dinh 1
he might be endangering his life because of his strong compassion for her. Also, when he said I felt sorry for her, he said it without thinking about what would happen to him. Because of his great compassion, he gets himself a one way ticket to danger and has no chance of winning the trial when he realizes that saying “I felt sorry for her” was the wrong thing to say. Tom’s wife, Helen Robinson, has a...