In chapter three of To Kill a Mockingbird, written by Harper Lee, Atticus Finch said to Scout, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb in his skin and walk around in it.”
He said this in response to Scout’s first day of school, but this applies very well to her first, and only, meeting with Boo Radley instead. Everyone in town believed that he was a monster that never stepped foot outside of his house, until the day he saved Jem and Scout from death.
He had dominated their imaginations from the very beginning but became a symbol of goodness-of empathy- at the end. His single-story was that he was a reclusive person who had no compassion, empathy, or kindness left in his cold heart. When in reality, he was, “an intelligent child emotionally damaged by his cruel father…” (VideoAnt).
Because people only chose to see the scared and disturbed side of a scared man, they never saw his true character- no one, not even Boo himself. He chose to remain in recluse long after his father died because, “he doesn’t want to be part of a cruel, hateful society” (Tucker).
This was caused primarily by his abusive father, who lacked empathy when it was most needed, and that lack led to Boo’s single story. However, if Atticus had not told Scout that a different perspective was all that was needed to see past the single-story Boo never would have had his defining chance for redemption-for empathy.Tags: Empathy RHS