Empathy in To Kill a Mockingbird Essay Example
Having empathy for others helps us connect to people, because empathy helps us communicate our ideas in a way that makes sense to others, and it helps us understand others when they communicate with us. In To Kill a Mockingbird, many of the characters in the story gained empathy for other characters, which helped the characters connect with others. The characters in To Kill a Mockingbird were able to understand another person's thoughts and feelings. Because of this, characters like Atticus and Calpurnia were able to connect with others.
In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus begins to have empathy for Boo Radley. Citizens of Maycomb County made up lies of Boo Radley and the children of Maycomb County, like Jem and Scout, would bother Boo Radley. Because of this, Atticus believes that people should stop making up lies and stop bothering Boo Radley. Nobody knows what Boo Radley has gone through, so Atticus believes that people should just leave him alone. According to the text, “Son, he said to Jem, I’m going to tell you something and tell you one time: stop tormenting that man. That goes for the other two of you.
What Mr. Radley did was his own business. If he wanted to come out, he would. If he wanted to stay inside his own house he had the right to stay inside free from the attentions of inquisitive children, which was a mild term for the likes of us” (Lee 26). This shows how Atticus begins to have empathy for Mr. Radley because he believes that the kids should stop bothering him and leave him alone. Atticus kinds of put himself in Mr. Radley’s shoes and was thinking how annoying it would be if kids bothered him all day. This situation shows that the next time you are bothering someone, put yourself into their shoes and think how annoyed you would be if you were always being bothered. People should be allowed to do their own thing and stories should not be made up about them.
Atticus wasn’t the only character to gain empathy in To Kill a Mockingbird, Calpurnia also gained empathy. Calpurnia gained empathy for Walter Cunningham. Walter Cunningham was invited to dinner, and during the dinner, Scout was being disrespectful to Walter. Calpurnia believes that Scout shouldn’t treat Walter with disrespect. She understands the struggles Walter and the rest of the Cunninghams are going through, and she believes that Scout should treat him with respect.
According to the text, “He ain’t company, Cal, he’s just a Cunningham. Hush your mouth! Don’t matter who they are, anybody sets foot in this house’s yo‘ comp’ny, and don’t you let me catch you remarkin’ on their ways like you was so high and mighty! Yo‘ folks might be better’n the Cunninghams but it don’t count for nothin’ the way you’re disgracin‘ ’em—if you can’t act fit to eat at the table you can just set here and eat in the kitchen” (Lee 13). This shows that Calpurnia has empathy for Walter, because even though his family is not like Scout’s, she believes that he should be treated with respect. I infer that Calpurnia maybe had a life like Walter (where she was poor), so that’s why she was mad at Scout, because maybe she was treated like how Scout is treating Walter. This situation helps shows that no matter what family people come from, rich or poor, they should all be treated with respect.
Having empathy for others helps us better connect to people in the world. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Calpurnia and Atticus both gained empathy for someone. Atticus gained empathy for Boo Radley, and that helped him better understand the struggles Boo Radley went through in his life. He believes that Boo Radley should be able to do whatever he wants, and he shouldn't be bothered by other people because of his actions. Calpurnia gained empathy for Walter Cunningham. That helped her better understand how poorly people treat the Cunninghams, and she believes that everyone, rich or poor, should be treated with respect. These examples of how characters in To Kill a Mockingbird gained empathy for others helps shows that by being able to have compassion for others can help us connect with others. In conclusion, empathy is a powerful tool that helps us communicate our ideas to others, helps us understand others when they communicate with us.