How does Scout show empathy?How does she show empathy in chapter 4 towards Boo Radley or in any other part in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scout does not appear to show any empathy for Boo Radley in Chapter 4 of To Kill a Mockingbird.  For, she actively engages in the play-acting about the Radley family.  When the children's father asks them what they are doing--specifically, what they are doing with the scissors--Scout senses that Atticus may suspect that they are acting out the Radley history; as a result, she becomes nervous and asks Jem to stop the play.  The second reason that Scout gives the reader is the fact that on the day that she rolled into the Radley front yard, she heard a laugh.  This laughter has frightened Scout who is superstitious; consequently, she does not wish to continue their charades.

Empathy, however, is clearly demonstrated by Scout for Boo Radley in the final chapter when she walks her rescuer home.  Standing on Boo Radley's porch provides Scout the perspective of Boo, causing her then to understand what his small, lonely world must be like.  As Scout "walks around in his shoes," she feels empathetic for the isolated man who vicariously knew some joy and laughter from watching her and Jem and Dill:

Neighbors bring food witih death and flowers with sickness and little things in between.  Boo was our neighbor.  he gave us two soap dolls, abroken watch and chain, a pair of good-luck pennies, and our lives.  But neighbors give in return  We never put back into the tree what we took out of it:  we had given him nothing, and it made me sad....

Atticus was right.  One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them.  Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.

mkcapen1 | Student

I agree with the previous editor, but if I were to push it, I would say that the empathy that Scout showed was that she accepted the gifts that Boo Radley provided.  When she returned home she had already eaten the gum given showing that she trusted what he had given her.  Jem gets upset with Scout for eating the items.

Dill begins to make remarks about death surrounding the Radley place and Scout makes threats to beat him up if he does not quit.  She has begun to realize that something is different about the Radley place and Boo.


zumba96 | Student

She is shown to be caring and accepts the gifts Boo Radley had given her. She trusts him because she comes to understand that he is a good human being. As she grows older she understands how rude it is to make fun of someone and make a game out of their life because this can cause them pain. 

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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