What is an example of compassion from To Kill a Mockingbird?

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mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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There are many, many examples of compassion in this book.  I'll list a few below:

  • Atticus being kind to Mrs. Dubose, despite her verbal harrassment of him, and her insulting comments.  He sends Jem to help her through her last days, and tells him that she is "the bravest person I've ever known."
  • Atticus in taking the case of Tom Robinson, even though he knew that he would lose, and that it would open his family up to danger and ridicule.  He knew Tom was innocent, and so showed compassion.
  • Atticus in questioning Mayella, very kindly paints a picture of her dire life, her loneliness, and alludes to her father's drunkenness.  He tries to help the jury to relate to her and feel pity for her, a very compassionate move.
  • Scout shows compassion to Boo at the end by respecting his need for privacy, his shy nature, and his desire to make sure that Jem is okay.  She speaks kindly to him, and doesn't push him out of his comfort zone.
  • Boo giving Scout a blanket on the cold night that Miss Maudie's house burns down, AND, the neighbors as they help Miss Maudie as her house burns.

Those are just a few examples, but I hope that they can get you started; good luck!

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Yet another act of compassion in To Kill a Mockingbird occurs when Scout invites the obviously hungry Walter Cunningham Jr. to the Finch house for lunch. Scout is aware that Walter Jr. will have no lunch at school after refusing Miss Caroline's loan of a quarter for school food. So, Scout makes the friendly gesture of inviting the bedraggled boy home for a home-cooked meal by Calpurnia.

Another act of compassion comes from the unseen Boo on the night of the fire when he drapes a blanket across Scout's shoulders to protect her from the cold. Boo had previously shown his kindness to Jem when he awkwardly mended the boy's torn pants and folded them on the fence.

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teacher2011 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

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I’m assuming you are looking for acts of compassion or concern by characters in the novel.  The acts of compassion that I always find the most fascinating are the acts of compassion by the novels most mysterious character, Boo Radley. Despite the children’s misconception of him being the equivalent of a monster, he provides the Finch kids treats in the knothole, he provides Scout a blanket during Miss Maudie’s fire, and later saves the children Bob Ewell’s attack. Other acts of compassion abound when we consider Atticus and his role in his community.

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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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In the book To Kill a Mockingbird the scenes that come to mind to me as being demonstrative of compassion were in the end of the book.

The time in the book when Boo carries an injured Jem to his father's home and down the hall to Jem's room shows compassion on Boo's behalf.

The scene when Heck Tate makes the decision to protect Boo by stating that Bob Ewel fell on his own knife showed that heck was different than many of the townspeople.  He showed compassion for Boo.

Finally, when Scout takes Boo home.  Atticus tells her to place her arm through Boo's so that he could walk down the road like a man.  I found this to be of greatest compassion and so true to Atticus' nature.

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Astrid Williams | eNotes Newbie

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Atticus was nowhere when Boo tells Scout to take him home. He was conversing with Heck Tate, and probably went inside. And it was Scout who asked Boo whether she could slip her arm into the crook of his rm. This was to show everyone if they were looking, and the readers that Boo was not a 'malevolent phantom' but a 'gentleman'. This also is no way related to the theme of compassion. 

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zumba96 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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There are many many examples but here are a few, 

When Atticus takes up the case of Tom Robinson. He knows he will be shunned and others will look down upon him because he is taking the case of an African man. However, Atticus stands with justice and he does not care that he is taking the side against society because he is doing what is right.

Boo's compassion towards the children is another great example because he leaves gifts for the children and simply wants to befriend them. He defends them when they are being attacked by Bob and saves their lives. This is only 2 examples of the numerous compassionate moments found within the book. 

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cjck22 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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Perhaps the greatest act of compassion takes place at the end of the novel.  Ewell has just been killed by Boo Radley as he defends Jem and Scout.  Atticus and the sheriff know the truth, but allow the story that Ewell fell on his own knife to be the story that will be shared with the community.  This act protects Boo, a recluse, from becoming the center of attention, which would harm him.  Harming Boo would be like killing a mockingbird...another tie in to the title of the novel.

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