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Empathy in To Kill A Mockingbird

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Bailey Besta

on 4 June 2014

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Transcript of Empathy in To Kill A Mockingbird

The novel To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee brings up the theme of empathy through the character Atticus. The character Atticus teaches his children Jem and Scout the skill of empathy by setting examples of it for them.
To Kill A Mockingbird is the story of a southern family who strays from the customs that surround them. Single father Atticus Finch teaches his children things he believes are right such as empathizing and respecting all people despite their skin color, how much money they make, or how they act in certain situations.
Atticus's Empathy Toward the Less Fortunate of Maycomb
"Atticus said people were poor because the farmers were poor. As Maycomb County was farm country, nickels and dimes were hard to come by for doctors and dentists and lawyers. entailment was only a part of Mr. Cunningham's vexations. The acres not entailed were mortgaged to the hilt, and the little cash he made went to interest... As the Cunninghams had no money to pay a lawyer, they simply paid us with what they had," (page 27 and 28).

"Atticus's eyes filled with tears. He did not speak for a moment. 'Tell them I'm very grateful,' he said. 'Tell them-- tell them they must never do it again. Times are too hard..." (page 286).

Atticus's Empathy Towards the Ewells
"I have nothing but pity in my hear for the chief witness for the state, but my pity does not extend so far as to her putting a man's life at stake, which she has done in an effort to get rid of her own guilt," (page 271).

"He meant it when he said it, Jem see if you can stand in Bob Ewell's shoes a minute. I destroyed his last shred of credibility at that trial if he had any to begin with. The man had to have some ki of comeback, his kind always does. So if spitting in my face and threatening me save Mayella Ewell one extra beating, that's something I'll gladly take. He had to take it out on somebody and I'd rather it be me than that houseful of children out there," (page 293).

Atticus's Empathy Towards the African Americans of Maycomb
"For a number of reasons. The main one is, if I didn't I couldn't hold up my head in town, I couldn't represent this country in the legislature, i couldn't even tell you or Jem not to do something again... Scout, simply by the nature of the work, every lawyer gets at least one case in his lifetime that affects him personally. This one's mine," (page 100 and 101).

"There is nothing more sickening to me than a low-grade white man who'll take advantage of a Negro's ignorance," (page 296)
Bailey Besta
Empathy in To Kill A Mockingbird
The character Atticus Finch shows great empathy throughout the book. His great examples of empathy towards the African Americans of Maycomb, the less fortunate of Maycomb, and even his opponents in court help him to teach his children the skill of empathy.
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