Where would one find 3 quotes with page numbers from To Kill A Mockingbird on empathy?

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Empathy happens when one person identifies with the feelings of another person. The one may have or may have not experienced the exact event or feeling before, but vicariously feels what it might be like to be going through what the other is feeling. Feelings of empathy can be both positive or negative; that is to say, they don't always have to be experienced during times of suffering. However, it can be argued that the most powerful feelings of empathy are usually felt when one person sees the suffering of another from the outside looking in. That is the case with Dill, Jem, and Aunt Alexandra in To Kill a Mockingbird.

The trial of Tom Robinson takes a toll on the afore-mentioned characters as they watch the drama unfold around both Tom and Atticus and they face Maycomb society, generations of racism, and death (Tom's eventually). During the cross examination of Tom, Dill breaks down as follows:

"For some reason, Dill had started crying and couldn't stop; quietly at first, then his sobs were heard by several people in the balcony" (198).

Later, outside the courthouse with Scout, Dill explains his crying over how Mr. Gilmer disrespectfully spoke to Tom:

"I don't care one speck. It ain't right, somehow it ain't right to do 'em that way. Hasn't anybody got any business talkin' like that--it just makes me sick" (199).

After the trial was finished, Jem expresses his empathy in the following scene:

"It was Jem's turn to cry. His face was streaked with angry tears as we made our way through the cheerful crowd. 'It ain't right,' he muttered, all the way to the corner of  the square where we found Atticus waiting. . . 'It ain't right, Atticus,' said Jem. 

'No son, it's not right.'

We walked home" (212).

Finally, Aunt Alexandra breaks down for Atticus during a tea party where the racist comments about the trial and society make her feel poorly for her brother having to put up with all of it throughout the long process of the trial. Alexandra leaves the party because she needs a break from it all and she tells Maudie the following:

"'I can't say I approve of everything he does, Maudie, but he's my brother, and I just want to know when this will ever end.' Her voice rose: 'It tears him to pieces. He doesn't show it much, but it tears him to pieces. I've seen him when--what else do they want from him, Maudie, what else?'" (236).

Clearly, Alexandra is emotionally suffering for her brother's trials and suffering. She doesn't break down and cry like the boys do, but she feels her brother's suffering vicariously for sure. 

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Towards the beginning of the novel, Scout tells her father about her rough first day of school. Atticus explains how Miss Caroline is new to Maycomb, and tells Scout that her teacher is not aware of the various eccentricities of each family and individual throughout the county. He says, "if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view." (Lee 39) Atticus displays empathy for Miss Caroline by encouraging Scout to view situations from a different perspective. Scout learns not to judge people without first considering their point of view.

In Chapter 16, Atticus defends Walter Cunningham's character and explains why Walter and the Old Sarum bunch approached him at the jailhouse. Atticus says, "Mr. Cunningham's basically a good man...he just has his blind spots along with the rest of us." (Lee 210) Instead of condemning Walter Cunningham for his participation in the mob, Atticus shows empathy towards him. Atticus then explains mob mentality to Jem and Scout.

In Chapter 23, Bob Ewell spits in Atticus' face. Atticus does not retaliate and explains to Jem why he reacted without malice. Atticus says, "Jem, see if you can stand in Bob Ewell's shoes a minute. I destroyed his last shred of credibility at that trial, if he had any to begin with. The man had to have some kind of comeback, his kind always does. So if spitting in my face and threatening me saved Mayella Ewell one extra beating, that's something I'll gladly take." (Lee 292) Atticus displays empathy for Bob Ewell by understanding the difficult situation he is in. Atticus does not blame Bob for reacting the way he did.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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