How Does Atticus Finch Use Empathy In To Kill A Mockingbird

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The book To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee is set in the small town of Maycomb in the 1930s. In this town there are displays of judgment, hypocrisy, and indeed is an “old and tired” town set in its mind. However, there are a few people in town who exhibit distinctive qualities that allow them to “walk in peoples shoes”. The use of empathy in the story is shown by the character Atticus Finch who is the guiding parent figure to his son and daughter. Lee conveys the importance of empathy through the statements and behaviors of Atticus Finch and the influence he has on his children. Atticus Finch uses empathy to show Scout and Jem that one should not judge someone without knowing what is occurring in their life. He first…show more content…
He is part of the Cunningham family, a group of moral people who never take more than they can pay back. Scout understands the concept of this but doesn't truly empathize with the Cunningham’s. “He ain’t company, Cal, he's just a Cunningham—"(27) Scout says this to Calpurnia ( her family’s caretaker) after Cal takes her out of the dining room for shaming how Walter Cunningham eats. We can clearly see that Scout does not empathize at all at the beginning of the book. However with Atticus’s guidance we start to see the improvement in Scouts ability to “walk in peoples shoes.” Later Scout starts to empathize with Boo Radley. Once described as a “malevolent phantom”(9) who's property was never dared to be stepped on, is now the friendly neighbor who has gifted them little trinkets. "I sometimes felt a twinge of remorse, when passing by the old place, at ever having taken part in what must have been sheer torment to Arthur Radley - what reasonable recluse wants children peeping through his shutters, delivering greetings on the end of a fishing-pole, wandering in his collards Pelteku 3 at night”(278)? Empathizing with Boo Radley is where we could successfully compare her
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