Compassion, By Harper Lee

774 WordsMay 11, 20154 Pages
To have compassion is to have the ability to show a deep understanding towards one’s situation, and to be able to reflect that understanding in a conscientious manner. In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, compassion is a central theme as it is the rise and fall of many of the characters. Atticus, Tom Robinson and Scout were all able to show compassion in dire situations even if it may not have been what most people would have done. Tom Robinson’s compassion was what landed him in the middle of an unwinnable court case. Having lived so close to Mayella Ewell, he probably saw and heard the daily misfortunes she had to suffer through. Out of the goodness of his heart, he took time out of his day and helped her with certain tasks that her father neglected to do. He even had the audacity to have “felt right sorry for her,” because “she seemed to try harder than the rest of ’em-” (pg. 264). His outward display of compassion is highly unusual as black people are below white people and should never have to feel sorry for them- it should be the other way around. Unfortunately, Tom would have been better off keeping to himself, for had he never taken the time to help Mayella, he would have been living life happily and would not have had to put his family under duress. At the end of the novel, Scout has an epiphany after she meets Boo Radley. As she is standing on the Radley porch she begins to imagine her life events over the past year from Boo’s perspective. She suddenly
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