Empathy in To Kill A Mockingbird
Lit, Period 7 7, December, 2013 The Power of Empathy In the grand plan of things, each people is working hard to see ourselves succeed. When we are defending survival, why should any of us make the effort to feel for our fellow human beings? In her book, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee indicates that having the capability to feel for others or to show compassion not just advantages others, however can lead to individual gains too. This is finest demonstrated through the characters of Atticus, Jem, and Scout Finch. An apparent example of this claim is through the character of Atticus Finch.
Due to the fact that of Atticus’ capability to feel sorry for everyone, he is well respected by the town, even when he is doing some controversial things such as defending Tom Robinson. Atticus’ usage of compassion appears during the trial, where Atticus is blaming Mayella Ewell for falsely accusing Tom Robinson of rape. Rather than clearly assaulting Mayella, Atticus states, “I have nothing but pity in my heart for the chief witness of state, but my pity does not extend up until now as to her putting a guy’s life at stake.” (Lee-203). Atticus is still providing the same basic message, however instead of latantly implicating Mayella of lying, he is feeling sorry for her and in a way validating her actions, however incorrect they might have been. By conveying his points in manner ins which do not make others seem like they are being personally attacked, Atticus is a well-respected member of society. We learn of the extent of this respect when Scout grumbles: “In spite of Atticus’ drawbacks as a moms and dad, people were content to reelect him to the state legislature without opposition. I came to the conclusion that individuals were just peculiar.” (Lee- 243). Even after he lost the questionable
Tom Robinson case, the town still chosen Atticus to serve on the state legislature given that he was so respected due to the fact that of his capability to feel sorry for each and every member of Maycomb. Jain We likewise see this compassion in Jem, who plainly demonstrates more understanding by the end of the book. We initially get a glimpse of this after he assisted end Ms. Dubose’s morphine addiction prior to her eventual death. After she passes away, Jem receives a white camellia flower from Ms. Dubose. At first, Jem is angry, considering that he believes Ms. Dubose is getting back at him, but Atticus explains how Ms.
Dubose was a brave woman due to the fact that she was able to end her morphine addiction prior to she died. “Jem picked up the camellia, and when I went off to bed, I saw him fingering the large petals.” (Lee-112). Jem is listening to Atticus’ recommendations and is attempting to feel sorry for Ms. Dubose, whom he is lastly able to respect. We see Jem’s newly found maturity establish throughout the book. After Atticus loses the case, Jem starts to make sense of the world. “If everyone’s alike, why do they go out of their way to despise each other? Scout, I believe I’m eginning to understand why Boo Radley’s stayed shut up in your home all this time … it’s because he wishes to stay inside.” (Lee-227). Jem is undoubtedly developing when he feels sorry for Boo Radley, a character everybody dislikes in spite of not even understanding him. As he understands the world, Jem starts to empathize with even the most not likely of people, causing increased knowledge. Even Scout, the least mature and most unaware of the Finches, discovers the ability of compassion by the end of the book. Initially, Scout was always quick to evaluate others and saw things only as black or white. She saw Auntie Alexandra as mean and unreasonable.
Nevertheless, she alters her opinion after seeing her aunt stay calm and ladylike even after news of Tom Robinson’s death. “After all, if Aunty might be a woman at a time like this, so could I.” (Lee-237). Scout is beginning to respect Aunt Alexandra for her positive aspects, rather than revealing contempt for her imperfections. Scout likewise shows a heightened sense of understanding to Boo Radley, specifically, when Boo desires Scout to walk him home. “I would lead him through our home, however I would never ever lead him Jain house.” (Lee- 278). Scout comprehends that it would be humiliating to Boo to have a 8 year ld woman leading him house and it would give possible onlookers the wrong impression. Instead, Scout had Boo hold her hand so it would look like he is strolling Scout, which would seem normal. By feeling sorry for people she once did not regard, Scout has clearly come a long way from the immature little lady that she was at the start of the book. Empathy is not just there to make us feel excellent about ourselves. Rather, the capability to understand makes us much better humans and it lifts society up also. The Finch household is a shining example of this ability to understand, as they fight bigotry in To Eliminate a Mockingbird.