The Importance Of Empathy In To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee

June 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee was published in 1960. All through the novel, Harper Lee uses the character Scout to advance the invited reading that it is important to show empathy towards others, to walk in their shoes and consider things from their perspective. Scout conveys this message through her development of empathy as she matures all throughout the novel. On Scout’s first day of school she shows her comprehension towards Walter Cunningham. Later in the novel, Scout starts developing empathy towards Boo Radley. At the end of the novel, Scout fully develops empathy towards Boo Radley as she has matured.

As To Kill a Mockingbird, progresses Scout becomes more empathetic. Scout is now old enough to attend school and while her first day seems overwhelming and unfair, she develops empathy. During Scout’s first day at school, Miss Caroline Fisher, the newly appointed Maycomb school teacher, offers Walter Cunningham money for food as she can see he is malnourished. When Walter doesn’t accept the money, Scout explains that, “The Cunninghams never took anything they can’t pay back… They don’t have much, but they get along on it”. This shows that Scout isn’t prejudiced towards the Cunninghams because they are poor and instead respects the Cunninghams for their values. Through Scout’s actions, the audience can see Scout understanding empathy and other people’s problems to a great extent.

From the principal expression of To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout is depicted as an thoughtful child however unempathetic. Originally when Scout and Jem happen upon Boo Radley, dark and as described in the novel as a monster that has been locked up in his dad’s home for more than 15 years. Jem and Scout together attempt to trap Boo Radley to leave his house. Later Jem and Scout understands that they have been annoying a man that needs to be disregarded inside his home. For example, at the point when Jem acknowledges, he says, “Scout, I think I’m beginning to understand something. I think I’m beginning to understand why Boo Radley’s stayed shut up in the house all this time . . . it’s because he wants to stay inside”. Scout’s capacity to understand this, especially given her unique perspective on Boo Radley, demonstrates that she is developing empathy towards Boo Radley. Through her actions, you could portray Scout as simply being curious about the world and starting to understand empathy.

Scout’s attitude towards Boo Radley matures as she becomes more empathetic. At the end of the book while standing on the porch after Scout dropped Boo Radley to his home, she thinks about Boo and says to herself, “Atticus was right…you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them”. Scout’s ability to understand what advice Atticus gave her, she was able to understand and see things in a mockingbird’s perspective and comprehend why it would have been hard for Boo. This metaphor shows Scout being empathetic towards Boo Radley and his difficult life. As Scout grows older, she starts to understand people better, effectively reminding readers that it is important to consider things from other people’s perspectives.

As seen from the essay, throughout her life difficulties in Maycomb county, Scout managed to change and mature as she grew older and slowly generated empathy. In the beginning of the novel, Scout is unempathetic particularly towards Boo Radley. Later in the novel, Scout starts to become more empathetic towards multiple characters, such as Boo Radley and Walter Cunningham. Overall, Harper Lee uses the juxtaposition of the character Scout to promote the invited reading that it is important to show empathy towards others, to walk in their shoes and consider things from their perspective. Scout’s transformation from unempathetic and rude into a nice and wise child reminds us that we all have room to grow.

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