Essay Empathy in to Kill a Mockingbird

743 Words Feb 22nd, 2013 3 Pages
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
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307, 308. We can truly observe the maturing and the obtaining of new knowledge in Scout as a character while she begins learning about empathy
Empathy is a recurring theme that is represented in the learning experiences of Jem. For example, when Jem sees Scout hurting Walter Cunningham, he takes a real look at Walter and realises that he couldn’t help being in the condition he is in and he deserves to be treated better. “Walter looked as if he had been raised on fish food… he fingered the straps if his overalls, nervously picking at the metal hooks.”pg. 25. One small gesture can communicate to the reader the true influence of empathy.
One small gesture that Tom Robinson made was immediately questioned by the majority of the court room; being a black man in a white society, he was supposedly in no situation to feel sorry for Mayella who is a white woman. He does not know much about her situation, but he has the ability to understand where she is coming from and see that she deserves help. “Looked like she didn’t have nobody to help her… yes suh. I felt right sorry for her.” Pg. 217.
To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel which deals with many themes; the most dominant of these is empathy, as it is crucial in the relationships between characters as well as in their learning experiences. The way Scout finally learns how to use empathy to see things from Boo Radley’s point of view was very moving to the reader, and the reader can
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