In "To Kill A Mockingbird" during the courtroom action which character do you empathize the most and why?In "To Kill A Mockingbird" during the courtroom action which character do you empathize the...

In "To Kill A Mockingbird" during the courtroom action which character do you empathize the most and why?

In "To Kill A Mockingbird" during the courtroom action which character do you empathize the most and why?

Asked on by tofu2012

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mrs-campbell's profile pic

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

Posted on

Probably the easiest answer is Tom Robinson.  Here is a good, decent, hard-working black man with a family to take care of, who has been falsely accused of raping a white woman.  All he did was try to help her-we empathize with that.  We probably would have tried to help her too.  Then, because of his kind deed, he ends up in prison, accused of an awful crime.  Because he is a black man, he is in an impossible position.  He states it well himself when asked why he ran, if he was innocent.  He says:

"I's scared I'd be in court...scared I'd hafta face up to what I didn't do."

It is hard to not at least sympathize with his predicament.  He ran because he knew it looked bad, even though it wasn't his fault.  He was in court because of the color of his skin and the impudent ego of Bob Ewell's wounded pride.  It is completely unfair, a travesty, and a lot of us can empathize with Tom's desire to help, how he looked guilty for something he didn't do, and the difficult position that he was in.

There is one other character I want to mention, that is less obvious.  Even though she did a despicable thing in going along with accusing Tom of raping her, I think that Mayella Ewell is a character that people can at least feel sorry for.  Empathize might be too strong of a word:  empathy implies that you relate to her, feel bad for her, and care for her because you have gone through what she has gone through.  I can't claim the right to empathize with her, but I do feel a bit sorry for her.  Atticus, through asking very purposeful questions to Mayella, helps her to reveal that their family was incredibly poor; they didn't even have enough money for shoes, so used "strips of old tires".  The relief money they got, "Papa drank it up" to then disappear "for days and came home sick."  It also kind-of slips out that good ol' Papa (Bob) beats the kids, and that Mayella has no friends and is incredibly lonely.  It's hard not to feel a bit for her.  It doesn't justify taking advantage of a hard-working black man, accusing him of rape and ruining his life though.

epollock's profile pic

epollock | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

I emphasize with Atticus the most. here you have a character that is going up against the entire system in which he lives to fight for a black man. He risks everything including the safety of his family for the principles he believes in.

krishna-agrawala's profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

In real life it is advisable to try and sympathise with any person you are dealing with. This what Atticus describes as "walking in other person's shoes" in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird". However while reading a novel, I feel no such compulsion. I am free to empathise with any character that appeals to me, and in case of the courtroom action this character is Atticus. I find him very impressive, and a person I would like to emulate.

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