Children are known to be easily influenced, which is how most of a person’s beliefs stem from their youth. With their malleable belief system and innocent, children tend to become emotional and have a stronger sense of empathy to build from. Scout is the main character and narrator of To Kill a Mockingbird and tells of all her experiences throughout the duration of the trial. Being in the 1930s, there was a lot of racism present in their town, and being accepting was a rare quality. Atticus taught his children equality, and they fought in their own ways for their family morals. They were only able to fight because the problem was connected to them and they felt empathy. Scout being the youngest, best demonstrates empathy and compassion in this novel, as she is always able to put herself in someone else’s shoes. Scout portrays this characteristic many times throughout the book. She shows empathy for Tom Robinson, a man on trial for the rape of a white woman and part of the black community in Maycomb as a whole, and Boo Radley. She also empathizes with the mixed children and Mayella Ewell, a young woman who accuses Tom of rape, in the same way, always through her growing personal experience.Order now
Scout showed a lot of empathy towards multiple people. However, some of the most influential instances in which she does are towards Boo Radley, Tom Robinson, and Mayella Ewell. All three of these people were outcasts in a way of their own, all unique. It was not any choice in their power, but they were still ostracized for their characteristics. When speaking to Dill about why Boo Radley has not run off, she says “Maybe he doesn’t have anywhere to run off to,” (Lee 163). Then she later declines “ at Boo Radley” because she “didn’t think it’d be nice to bother him,” (Lee 168). Scout later learns about how unfairly she had been judging Boo Radley. He had not done anything to deserve it, just like Tom Robinson did not deserve to be jailed. Scout felt connected to these situations, as she saw that they were unfairly cast out of society for improper reasons, and she felt as though she was being treated differently by Atticus and Jem once Alexandra came along just because she was a girl. These were all things she could not understand, so she was able to be empathetic towards these characters and their undeserved isolation. This is important because it shows how Scout was truly sorry for them and related to the ostracization through personal experience. Scout also showed empathy for the biracial children and Mayella. She shows her emotion in this when she says “…Mayella Ewell must have been the loneliest person in the world…she was as sad…as a mixed child,” (Lee 218). Scout thinks about this fact and feels bad for Mayella. Jem had explained how sad “mixed children” were. She says Mayella is lonely because she wasn’t accepted by anyone. She just wanted affection from one person in her life. This claim presents how Scout knew Mayella was sad. Scout knew that the Ewell’s weren’t supportive or clean and civilized like how Mayella may have wanted to be. Scout didn’t fit in either, because she was a girl and couldn’t fit in with boys, but she was not feminine and could not belong with girls. Both girls had nowhere go. This is important, as with Scout’s broadening experience, she was able to understand loneliness and felt empathy for Mayella Ewell. Scout, being the narrator, shares all her thoughts and opinions, so we truly see the extent of her compassion and empathy when she talks about herself and others.