Theme Of Empathy In To Kill A Mockingbird

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Instinctive Empathy as Nature It was discovered by Dr. Maxwell Maltz, who was a surgeon and author, that the approximate number of days required to embed a habit to one’s nature is 21; however, a true instinct of one’s nature must be innate or naturally formed. The literary fiction novel by Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, follows the story of Scout and her brother Jem with their father Atticus. Atticus is a single father that works in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama as a lawyer, but unlike the majority of the residents, Atticus has the unhindered instinct of empathy that has become a part of his mindset and lifestyle. His work ethic and devotion to other people is proven countless numbers of times throughout the novel and is truly…show more content…
After news of Atticus defending a colored man named Tom Robinson spreads around town, people think less of Atticus. Scout’s schoolmates start teasing and insulting Atticus which leads to a fight, but Atticus tells Scout that “ no matter how bitter things get, they’re still our friends and this is still our home” (Lee 79). Atticus fully understands the situation and empathizes with Scout that he understands and why she would act in such way. Atticus also knows that in the long run, it is better to prevent Scout from fighting, so he sacrifices a part of his own dignity and reputation for her assurance that all is good, even though other people may judge. The sense of caring heart and understanding for Scout that Atticus influences upon his children are in some ways a form of empathy because it is a way for Atticus to understand their situation and their hardships. Atticus in this circumstance is also empathetic towards the schoolmates as well by forgiving them and calling them home. Atticus easily empathizes with other people as a father of two children, but he is also naturally empathetic as he is a…show more content…
When in the court, he exercises his empathy for Tom Robinson to the jury as well by claiming that he is,”confident that you gentlemen will review without passion the evidence you have heard, come to a decision, and restore this defendant to his family” (Lee 209). Unlike the majority of the population, Atticus was fully empathetic of a man that was accused of assault and rape because his judgment was not shrouded by a cloud of bias like the audience, jury, and the judge. He knows that the court case may take part in public humiliation; therefore, he keeps on the low and makes his points concisely to prevent the chaotic nature that the public hopes for. His empathy for the situation of Tom Robinson stretches to clearing his name as well as his reputation as a human, and in those times of social racism, that was not common. Atticus also had habits that were consistent with his display of instinctive empathy in his daily

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