To Kill a Mockingbird Questions and Answers
by Harper Lee

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How and when does Scout show empathy in To Kill a Mockingbird

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Scout's sense of empathy grows as she matures throughout the novel. Her most poignant growth in this area is in her understanding of Arthur "Boo" Radley.

When the novel opens, Boo is a source of morbid fascination for Scout. She, Jem, and Dill play games that involve acting out the moment when Boo supposedly stabbed his own father. They devise strategies that they hope will prompt Boo to emerge his house where he hides. When Atticus instructs the children to let Arthur Radley live his life in peace, Scout is disappointed and confused.

Yet in the end, Scout finds herself in this man's debt after he saves her life. As she listens to her father's conversation with Heck Tate, she sees Boo with new empathy. She understands that he is not a man who wants the attention of the town, and she also understands that he holds the total focus of their small town in this moment. When he asks Scout to take him home, her new empathy is touching:

I put my foot on the top step and stopped. I would lead him...

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