English I Section 6 23 March 2012 Compassion and Respect Respect and compassion are what everyone needs to have in life to have a great relationship between others and so that life can be peaceful. In Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird Scout learns about respect and compassion and how important they are to lead a good life. Through the characterization of Scout as a young girl who learns about the feeling of others, Lee demonstrates that people need to learn compassion and respect to understand the feelings of others.
When Reverend Sykes tells Scout to stand up when her father passes, it illustrates the respect that the blacks have for Atticus. After Atticus loses the trial and leaves the courtroom all the blacks in the balcony stand, but Scout doesn’t. Reverend Sykes tells her, “Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father’s passin” (211). Scout does not stand for her father because she does not understand what is happening. The blacks are standing to show their respects towards Atticus and how he tried so hard to win the trail.
Even though Atticus lost the trial they still feel so grateful for how hard he tried to win the case and how he changed people’s minds. Scout learns respect for her father for how hard he tried to do the right thing. When Jem tells scout not to crush the roly-poly, it illustrates the compassion Jem has towards the roly-poly. Right before Scout was to crush the roly-poly Jem stopped her and told her to let it out on the back porch, but Scout questions Jem on why she should not kill it. Jem tells her “because they don’t bother you” (238). Scout does not understand why Jem does not want her to kill the bug because she is too young and ignorant.
Jem tells her not to because he understands life and how its not bothering you and its just peaceful. Even though Scout still does not understand she still lets it out on the back porch. People need to learn compassion and respect to understand the meaning of others, like Scout and the roly-poly and Scout and the courtroom with Atticus. This theme is important because it shows that people in life need to learn compassion and respect to understand others in life, if people went around just doing what they wanted and not thinking about the people and things around them, then the world would be a totally different place.
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