Theme Of Empathy In To Kill A Mockingbird

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In 1960, Harper Lee published “To Kill A Mockingbird”. After release, To Kill A Mockingbird was voted best fiction novel of the year and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 because of it. To Kill A Mockingbird discussed two main and interwoven themes, empathy and inequality. These themes were shown through the lens of Scout, a young child growing up at an extremely difficult time. To Kill A Mockingbird revolves around the struggles for equality, both in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of society. In To Kill A Mockingbird, different kinds of inequality are the direct result of the societies lack of empathy. Those three kinds of inequality are inequality based on race, class, and gender.

In the 1930’s in Alabama, there was an immense
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The amount of unequal treatment throughout To Kill A Mockingbird is also portrayed in a more subliminal way using classism. Classism is the mistreatment of others based on their social class or standing in society. The first main example of classism in To Kill A Mockingbird was the lack of empathy that led to the mistreatment of Mayella Ewell. Mayella is consistently portrayed as a more antagonistic character in To Kill A Mockingbird. This portrayal does not do her justice. The true Mayella is one who was abused, both physically and sexually, and who never stood a chance in an unempathetic town such as Maycomb. Even though Mayella is the one accusing Tom Robinson of rape, it is crucial to note she never actually accused him of this crime during the trial. Tom Robinson gave the true reason why she accused him, she loved him. During his testimony, Tom told the jury that Mayella had told him to kiss her because she hadn't kissed anyone before and that “ what her papa do to her don’t count”. This proves that Mayella was sexually abused by her father. When Bob Ewell came home and found Mayella trying to kiss Tom, he beat her up and claimed it was Tom. Throughout To Kill A Mockingbird, there was not one sliver of empathy given to Mayella Ewell. Maycomb County very heavily relied on …show more content…
Beginning at an early age, the people around Scout had pushed many sexist stereotypes on her. These stereotypes and generalizations were pushed forth by different people, including Jem and Aunt Alexandra. When Jem and Scout are playing a game that was forbidden, Scout was having second thoughts on if she wanted to play or not. On page 41, Scout narrates “I was not so sure, but Jem told me I was being a girl, that girls always imagined things, that’s why other people hated them so, and if I started behaving like one I could just go off and find some to play with.” this perpetuated the stereotype that girls couldn’t have fun. Jem saying that Scout was being a girl has a negative connotation to it. Since Jem is in the position of power, as he is the older brother, Scout started to believe this stereotype, which was one of the reasons she acted throughout the book like a tomboy. Jem lacks any empathy for Scout. He does not understand that Scouts minute hesitation is better attributed to her sense of caution, rather than her gender. All Scout was doing, was taking a step back and thinking about the implications her actions may have ended up having. Scout was the logical thinker in this scenario and Jem was being irresponsible by attempting to belittle her for it. If Jem had taken a step back and put himself in Scouts shoes, he

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