Empathy In To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee

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Expressing empathy towards others creates a sense of understanding and allows the receiving end of the empathy to feel secure and important. In Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Mayella Ewell is a lonely nineteen year old who faces many trouble throughout the novel. Her family does not acknowledge her hard work and they do not show her the love she deserves. Atticus Finch recognizes how her family neglects and disregards her. From his past experiences, he realizes she needs empathy her family does not give her. Tom Robinson, a young African American, is on trial for something he is not guilty for and racism plays a huge role in his failure in court. Atticus still supports Tom and does everything in his power to help him. Throughout the …show more content…

He is not a very loving father either. Bob abuses Mayella and the other Ewell children and constantly takes his anger out on them. As the following passage says, Bob Ewell threatens Atticus and shows his hatred for him: “Mr. Bob Ewell stopped Atticus on the post office corner, spat in his face, and told him he’d get him if it took the rest of his life” (Lee 290). Atticus wisely lets Bob Ewell disrespect him and he does not involve himself in the fight. By doing so, he is displaying his respect towards his own children. If Atticus fights fire with fire and makes matters worse, this puts stress on the Finch family name. Atticus letting Bob Ewell get his anger out protected his children and shows his empathy towards his children by considering how this may affect Jem and Scout. In the following quote, Atticus explains why he does not fight back when he is being showed this level of disrespect: “So if spitting in my face and threatening me saved Mayella Ewell one extra beating, that’s something I’ll gladly take. He had to take it out on somebody and I’d rather it be me than that houseful of children out there” (Lee 292-293). Atticus knows the daily trouble the Ewell children face with an abusive and blasphemous father like Bob. Not putting the children in danger by losing an ounce of his pride illustrates the empathy Atticus has for everyone regardless of their family …show more content…

The jury is all white people and is biased against Tom Robinson. As it is evident in the following quote, Atticus says to Scout why he still decides to defend Tom Robinson even though the chance of their victory is quite slight: “Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started us no reason for us nor to try to win,” (Lee 101). Atticus agrees to persevere and do his best to give Tom Robinson the equality he deserves. Even though it is very likely that he will not win for Tom Robinson, he exhibits empathy towards Tom by not doubting victory. As it is illustrated in the following passage, Atticus does not take racism lightly: “the evil assumption- that all Negroes lie, all Negroes are basically immoral, that all Negro men are not to be trusted around our women, an assumption one associates with minds of their caliber… this is a truth that applies to the human race and to no particular race of men” (Lee 273). Atticus illustrates how black people feel less superior to whites. They are conditioned to believe in the labels they are given and struggle to deny them. Atticus brings attention to how these labels not only apply to black people, but whites still lie, cheat, and take advantage of women. He displays empathy towards Tom Robinson and the negroes in the courtroom when he says that everyone is human and makes mistakes, not just blacks. This addition to his closing statement

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