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Themes Of Empathy In 'To Kill A Mockingbird'

Better Essays
Joshua Jacobs
English 1 PAP- First Period
20 October 2017
Mr. Palkovics
Scout’s Little Lesson
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Empathy has many benefits including stronger connections with other people, it is therapeutic and it builds trust in your relationships. Learning to be empathetic and considering of other people's opinions is one of the main themes in To Kill A Mockingbird. As the characters grow throughout the novel, they begin understanding what it truly means to be empathetic and begin implementing this trait into their lives. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it” Scout doesn't
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Even before he saves them, Scout begins feeling guilty about the way they had treated Boo in the past. She says, “I sometimes felt a twinge of remorse when passing by the old Radley place, at ever having taken part in what must have been sheer torment to Arthur Radley – what reasonable recluse wants children peeping in through his shutters, delivering greetings at the end of a fishing pole, wandering in his collards at night.” She understands how Boo Radley feels. After being rescued, she begins to start empathizing with Boo without even realizing it; “Feeling slightly unreal, I led him to the chair farthest from Atticus and Mr. Tate. It was in a deep shadow. Boo would feel more comfortable in the dark.” She is thinking about what Boo Radley would feel more comfortable with, rather than thinking about things exclusively from her perspective. After standing on Boo Radley’s porch, Scout mentally imagines what Boo had seen all these years through the window. She realizes that “Atticus was right. One time he said, you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.” After this happened, Scout finally understood what Atticus had been teaching her throughout the novel.
To Kill A Mockingbird portrays empathy in a very relatable, authentic way. Being able to witness the characters, particularly Scout and Jem, grow and begin to understand the world and how it operates was very similar to how it works in reality, outside of the novel. The lesson that Harper Lee was trying to get across in this novel indubitably came through, making this an entertaining and educational
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