Empathy In 'To Kill A Mockingbird'

ow Does Having Empathy Keep Us From Having Prejudices?

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb around in his skin and walk around in it.” This quote shows that one should not judge another person, until one considers what they are going through in life. This quote is said by Atticus Finch in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Jean Louise “Scout” Finch and her older brother Jem, live in the small, sleepy town of Maycomb, Alabama. During school she befriends Walter Cunningham, a poor child who the town considers dirty. When Walter goes over to Scout’s house, he pours syrup all over the supper that the Finch’s prepared for him. Consequently, Scout makes rude remarks criticizing Walter.
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Scout realizes that he doesn’t come out of his house because of past family event that happened to him. For instance, “One time he said you never really understand a person until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough” (Lee 279). This quote relates to Scout having empathy for others instead of prejudice for others. Therefore, she sees everything from Boo’s point of view and sees why he doesn’t come out of the house. When she was little, the children would make up games that they thought were about his life. They did not know it, but they were having prejudice toward Boo. Now that she realizes what is going on, she has empathy for Boo, and no longer has any prejudices. She is growing up and realizing her thoughts against him were wrong. A critic of To Kill a Mockingbird says that “This can also be seen with Boo helping at the end of the novel, it shows he is a caring person. Especially when he touches Jem’s forehead. It shows that deep down he is a caring person by giving Jem a slight touch of his hand. When the children realize he is caring, the prejudice towards him goes away and they notice that he is …show more content…
However, Atticus believes that it is wrong and has empathy, therefore having no prejudices. An example is, “There’s nothing more sickening to me than a low-grade white man who’ll take advantage of a Negro’s ignorance... that white man is trash” (Lee 221). This matters because Atticus shows that he does not have prejudices towards Tom, unlike the other white folks of the community. He has empathy for Tom because he knows the rumors and stories that people say about him are false and made-up gossip. Atticus does not have prejudice because he sees the best in people. In the criticism entitled Being Atticus Finch, it says that Atticus uses “It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyways and you see it through no matter what” He knew that when he was appointed to be Tom’s lawyer it was going to be nearly impossible, but he did it anyway. It shows that he did not have any prejudice for defending him and also has courage to be involved in such a large controversy (Being Atticus Finch). This shows that by having empathy for Tom, he is able to defend him easier without worrying about what other people will say about him. He has courage to not care about the prejudice that people will make towards him for defending a black man. Another example is when Atticus teaches Scout and Jem to have good character, such as having empathy for others. Therefore, he “practices what he preaches” and does the same towards

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