How Does Scout Show Empathy

Empathy is one of the most important themes in Harper Lee’s classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Through the main character Scout, the reader is able to see how empathy can be used to understand and connect with others, even those who may be different from them.

Scout learns the importance of empathy early on in the novel, when she is confronted with her own prejudice against her neighbor, Mrs. Dubose. At first, Scout only sees Mrs. Dubose as a mean old lady who yells at her and her brother Jem. However, after hearing that Mrs. Dubose is fighting a brave battle against addiction, Scout begins to see her in a different light.

She comes to understand that Mrs. Dubose is not just a mean old lady, but a human being with her own struggles and fears. This experience teaches Scout the importance of understanding others, even if they may be different from her.

Scout is able to use her empathy to connect with others throughout the novel, including her father Atticus, her friend Dill, and even the accused murderer Tom Robinson. In each case, she is able to see beyond what others may see on the surface, and to understand them as human beings.

“We have to understand and know empathy if we’re going to find our way back to each other,” says Brown. We can get to know someone well as humans, but we also have the capacity to completely ignore their existence or label them based on their physical appearance and prior behavior.

In the novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, empathy is shown in many ways. The definition of empathy is “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another” (Empathy). In the novel Scout, Jem, and Atticus all demonstrate this form of communication with others.

Jem shows empathy when he becomes friends with Mrs. Dubose even though she’s old and doesn’t look like someone he would usually talk to. “I said good morning to her every day that I could, and pretty soon she began saying good morning back… She’d sit there on her porch for hours at a time just rocking back and forth” (Lee 119). Even though Mrs. Dubose is rude to Jem and Scout, Jem still talks to her every day. He doesn’t let her past actions determine whether or not he speaks to her.

Scout also shows empathy when she becomes friends with Dill even though he is different from her. “Dill was a curiosity… He wore blue linen shorts that buttoned to his shirt, his hair was snow white and stuck to his head like duckfluff” (Lee 6). Even though Dill is different, Scout still befriends him. She doesn’t let his appearance stop her from getting to know him.

Atticus demonstrates empathy when he defends Tom Robinson even though he knows he won’t win the case. “If I didn’t try, I couldn’t hold up my head in town, I couldn’t even tell Jem not to be a coward” (Lee 112). Even though Atticus knows he won’t win, he still defends Tom. He doesn’t let the color of his skin stop him from doing what’s right.

Empathy is important because it allows us to see past the surface and get to know someone for who they really are. It also allows us to be understanding and compassionate towards others.

Harper Lee depicts how two youngsters learn from people and their actions to respect everyone, regardless of what they have been docked or labeled. Our society has constructed a brick wall of expectations that hides who we truly are on the “inside.” This necessitates the need for someone to “break down the wall” or for us as individuals to “break free.”

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. In order for us to have empathy, we have to be able to see the situation from someone else’s perspective. It’s so easy for us as people to put up walls and not let anyone in because we are afraid of being hurt or judged. We all have a unique story that has led us to where we are today. Harper Lee teaches us that it is okay to be different and that everyone should be treated equally.

Atticus Finch, the father of Scout and Jem, is one of the most compassionate and understanding characters in To Kill A Mockingbird. Even though he knows that Tom Robinson, who is on trial for rape, is innocent, he still respects him and treats him fairly. Atticus knows that the jury is not going to see Tom Robinson as a human being, but as a “black man”.

“They’ve made up their minds and they aren’t going to change them, no matter what we do or say…I just wanted you to know that if it should happen that I don’t win this case, it won’t be because I was outsmarted by Atticus Finch. In our country, folks are usually judged by their actions and words, not by their color.” (Tom Robinson)

Tom Robinson says this to Atticus after the trial is over and he has been found guilty. Even though the jury did not see Tom as a human being, Atticus still respected him and treated him fairly. This shows us that it is possible to have empathy for someone even if they are not in our same social class or race.

Furthermore, because of his prior record, Boo is held accountable for any bad events that occur in Maycomb. Boo begins to get involved in Jem and Scout’s lives furtively as the tale continues. He performs little services like putting a blanket on Scout’s shoulders during a fire at Miss Maudie’s home. “You were so caught up in the flames; you didn’t realize he’d draped a blanket around you when he spoke” (74). Atticus tells this to Scout.

Even though Boo is perceived as a monster to the town, he shows more empathy than anyone else in Maycomb. Empathy is defined as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another”. In Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, empathy is a major themes. Empathy is demonstrated by characters such as Atticus Finch, Mrs. Dubose and Arthur “Boo” Radley.

One example of a character who demonstrates empathy is Atticus Finch. Throughout the novel, it is evident that Atticus has an immense amount of empathy for others. Even though the case he was defending, Tom Robinson, was clearly guilty, Atticus still believed in him.

When Atticus was questioning Mayella Ewell on the stand, she started to get frazzled and Atticus could sense it. “‘Don’t worry,’ he said softly, ‘it’s almost over’” (Lee 224). By saying this to her, he was trying to calm her down and show her that he understood how she was feeling.

Another character who demonstrates empathy is Mrs. Dubose. At first, Mrs. Dubose appears to be a mean old woman who yells at Jem and Scout whenever they walk by her house. However, it is later revealed that Mrs. Dubose is suffering from cancer and is trying to break herself off of morphine addiction before she dies.

“‘Mrs. Dubose is fighting a mighty battle,’ he said. ‘She’s losing it… but she thinks she can win because she’s doing it for you two children’” (Lee 125). Atticus shows how much he cares for Mrs. Dubose by explaining to Jem and Scout why she has been acting the way she has been.

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