Wednesday, March 21, 2018 Herou-1
” Walk about someone’s skin “(CITE) is the main theme in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. The novel shows the reader, the significance of empathy as a trait as the characters experience it. Harper Lee writes about the experience that Jem and Scout go through to understand empathy, while Atticus already possess the the ability to be empathetic. Atticus, Scout and Jem illustrate empathy which shows the importance of not being prejudice towards others.
Empathy is the recurring theme in To Kill a Mockingbird and the character Atticus epitomizes empathy. Throughout the book, Atticus shows a great deal of sensitivity towards other people’s feelings. Atticus, the father of Jem and Scout, educates his children on how to treat others. For instance, when Scout didn’t want to go to school, Atticus replied that she would get along with others if she considered things from their point of view (“until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”) Atticus understands that there are different people who live very different from him. For example, when Walter Cunningham Sr., a poor man has a legal problem that Atticus helps him with and he can’t pay Atticus with money, Atticus understands and tells him to let ” it be the worst of your worries.” Atticus ability to show empathy to all people around him makes him a rare character in the novel.
Jem empathizes the feelings and attitudes of others in the novel. Jem first experiences empathy when the trial of Tom Robinson occurred and was read guilty. When Jem heard about the decision against Tom Robinson, he showed emotion and started to cry. Scout quotes ” it was Jem’s turn to cry”, as he kept on muttering that it wasn’t fair. Jem also displays empathy for Walter Cunningham Jr, when Scout tries to beat him up. He tells Scout that he is smaller than she is and let him up, she then shows sympathy and invites Walter for dinner. Even at a young age, Jem is able to show empathy towards others feelings.
Scout learns empathy through many of the older characters in the novel, but does not display it until the final chapter. For example, she does not show empathy for Boo Radley, until the final chapter when her perspective of Boo changes and she understands what he must feel like being isolated all the time. Atticus (Scouts father) teaches Scout to respect people and try to see life from their perspective. For instance, she sympathizes Walter Cunningham Jr, when she put her sly remarks aside and asks Mr.Cunningham to tell walter hello from her. During the trial
of Tom Robinson, Scout also learns to empathize Mayella Ewell’s horrible situation. She comes to a conclusion that she must be the loneliest person in the world. Scout’s ability to understand empathy by simply listening to others, shows just how much she has learned from Atticus.
Through the protagonist (Scout and Jem), they learn a lesson along with the reader on how to “walk about someone’s skin.”