Essay ‘How are you Kind to Others and how are they Kind to You’

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Interaction with other people is something that we do every day, whether it is at school, work, or practically any environment where there are people around us. Every day, we interact with our family, our friends, and even strangers. However, each person has a different personality, and this can be cast on to people that interact with such a person. The way we treat others borders our own personality and our characteristics, whether they’re negative or positive. The world and the people around us operate in a way where most of the time, they treat you the same way as you =treat them. Just like in the real world, characters in books, novels, and movies display the same traits that we have, and the way those traits affect people can determine their fate later in the story. Throughout the book To Kill A Mockingbird, we see this kind of situation happen a lot of times. The way we treat others defines who will be the people we like and dislike — the people that will become our friends and the people that will become our enemies. While it does not fully show someone’s personality, it can send a strong message to certain people. It is very important to know that in order to be treated well, you have to treat others well and be kind and caring to those people if you want that same behavior back to you.

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The book To Kill A Mockingbird is a metaphor for empathy, which is the capability to share and understand the feelings of another person. The main characters, Jem and Scout go through many episodes of empathy with others throughout the whole story, and those episodes affected their perspective on the town of Maycomb. Scout has always been an impetuous yet curious person. While she has done some bad things in her life, we can see her growth in character throughout the book. One of the situations where we see one of the first actions that shape her empathy is when she dips Walter’s face in the dirt. In the book, Walter is seen as a poor person. It is clearly shown in the story that he couldn’t afford a lot of things. However, Scout decided to dip his face into some dirt. In the story, we can see Scout saying “Catching Walter Cunningham in the schoolyard gave me some pleasure…”, which shows that she enjoyed doing it. While she was young at the time, this affected the way she saw her actions and the world as she kept growing up. This occurrence would be one of the first occurrences that show Scout’s maturity growing slowly but steady.

Additionally, another incident that transpired with Scout was when she decided to mess with Boo Radley. She, along with Jem, attempted to communicate with him using a note attached to a fishing rod. However, Atticus catches the group and tells them to stop bothering Boo. In the story, Boo is seen as a scared person that does not want to go outside. He seems to be scared of people judging him when he comes out, and so, he stays inside and avoids contact. Atticus teaches Scout how to behave when meeting other people. In one part of the story, Atticus asks the group: “Had it never occurred to us that the civil way to communicate with another being was by a front door instead of a house window?” This question impacted Scout, and so, this incident bridged into Scout’s interactions with Boo later on. The story shows that empathy is not something that everyone is born with, and it needs to be practiced and improved upon over time.

Further on, another incident that highlighted Scout’s growth was when she killed a Mockingbird. This is also the moment where Harper Lee got the name for the book, and based Scout’s growth on this incident. When Scout received an air rifle for Christmas, Atticus warned her not to kill a Mockingbird. This was because it is an innocent creature, and killing them is seen as a sin. Atticus tells Scout that “They don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a Mockingbird.” However, despite his warnings, Scout kills the Mockingbird. This is one of the biggest events in Scout’s growth because she didn’t follow the rules or suggestions that Atticus gave her. It was the moment where she ignored his advice and decided to do it anyways. She then realized that it was an unnecessary thing to do, and so, it shaped her emotions and affected her actions later on. This is one of, if not, the most important event in Scout’s growth. While other events did influence her empathy for others, this event showed that she needed to make a change.

Lastly, one of the last incidents that we see in the book that greatly affects Scout’s growth and her empathy was when she visited Calpurnia’s church. When visiting the church, Scout was confronted by a woman named Luna. She was upset that Calpurnia allowed white children into the church. The time period where the story is present on, the 1930s, had a big problem with racism, which would still remain for decades after and still exists today in the present. In the story, Maycomb also experienced racism, much like Monroeville, which was the town that Harper Lee grew up on and based Maycomb off of. Calpurnia, however, insisted that the kids should stay in the church, despite their different skin color. Calpurnia revealed empathy for Scout and Jem and did not let their skin color get in the way of the empathy that she portrayed on them. Scout realized that all races, no matter your color, can be prejudiced and judged on. However, much like the real world today, people are more accepting of each other. As Scout described in the book, she said that “They seemed to be drawing closer to us, but when I looked up at Calpurnia, she had amusement in her eyes.” Scout appreciated the empathy that Calpurnia showed to her, and so, they kept going to the church more and more. It showed Scout that even if there’s hate within races, there’s still people that treat everyone equally, no matter their differences.

Furthermore, the book To Kill A Mockingbird showed an authentic depiction of racism in the 1930s in a story form. Just like in the book, cases of racism in real life at the time also happened constantly. One major example of a case that purely revolved around racism was the Scottsboro Boys Trial. It dates back to 1931 when a fight occurs between black and white young men in a train. Nine young black boys were arrested for assault, carried along with rape charges following the accusations of two white women. Throughout a prolix trial of the Scottsboro Boys, the women that accused them of rape denied any accusations of rape, but despite these claims, the judges were biased against the young black men. And so, the trial continued with no end. This was a dark time for disputes between both races since the trial extended for a long time. This case, however, doesn’t connect with empathy. If anything, it drifts away from it. The 1930s showed that different races did not give empathy to each other, and so, this created a lot of conflicts within different races that would last for several decades. Compared to today, the 1930s feel like a hostile decade to live on, especially if you’re not white. Today, we are more accepting of each other. Racism is a big issue that cannot simply vanish in an instant, and it’s almost impossible to get rid of such an issue. As long as there are differences between us, whether it is through skin color or differences in culture, there will always be racism, no matter how big or small it is. However, moments like these are much rarer compared to the 1930s. This is because we have empathy for each other now. We understand and share the feelings and problems that other people are going through, and we help them overcome those problems. Without the empathy that we share today, we would probably still be living in the 1930s.

Moreover, empathy extends to many more regions though, not just with racism. Throughout many of our schools, we’ve had a constant problem happening with students, and that is bullying. Bullying is the use of superior strength or influence to intimidate someone who is not as strong and use them for our own benefit. Bullying also expands on the web, and just like regular bullying, cyberbullying is also becoming a problem, despite all of the technology that we have to avoid it. Bullying can result in a dangerous impact on kids, whether it is through physical, emotional, or social damage. Sometimes, it can even go to a point where the only option to get away is through suicide. On September 19th of 2011, Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year old, committed suicide due to his ongoing problems with bullying and the pressure that it gave on his sexuality. While he did have a dependable support system helping him get through it, the problem never seemed to get away. Empathy is something that we need in order to take care of bullying. Empathy brings people together to support something or someone, and those people stand up for it. Anti-bullying systems, while supportive, do not completely get rid of the issue. Just like racism, bullying is something that is almost impossible to get rid of, but with enough support from our society, we can help overcome and hopefully make our world a safer and more peaceful place.

However, as a result, there is still a glimmer of hope to end bullying. Various studies performed from 2005 to 2014 showed a reduction in people that have been intensively bullied. The reports of witnessing bullying have also gone down. It is believed that students are treating each other better and more fairly now. While bullying will still remain, it’ll be washed out by the support and empathy that students give each other. Hopefully, schools also crack down on a better anti-bullying system that can involve the community to support victims and fight against not only bullying but also racism and other things that can harm our people. We should appreciate everyone that’s around us, and show empathy to the people that show empathy to us.

All things considered, how does the way we treat people define us? I believe that the way we treat people shows how much we care about someone and how our character is towards ourselves and other people. Most of the time, the phrase “You get what you give” fits well into this question. If you treat people well and with respect, they are going to treat you the same way you treat them. This is how we develop friendships and relationships with other people, and if we treat people in a bad way, it can show how we are as a person. I believe that I treat other people nicely because I want to have a positive environment around me, and I would like to engage with people and hopefully make their day a little better. Empathy is also connected to our friendships, and determine how powerful our friendship bond can and will be in the future. Just like Scout, we develop and grow our own personality, and we start to realize the bad things that encompass us. However, with a little empathy, we can make someone’s day better, and hopefully, have an even stronger friendship bond than before. Empathy is something that revolves around our world. It is what ties up our bonds with other people, our appreciation for the things that they give us, and the empathy and love that they give back to us. Truly, the world wouldn’t be as peaceful as it is today if empathy wasn’t present in our own hands.

In conclusion, the way we treat people defines our personality and our characteristics, whether they’re positive or negative. If we want good friendships and bonds, we need to have empathy for others. Sometimes, we need to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and understand their feelings. While empathy and sympathy are not skills that everyone is born with, it is something that can be taught and performed. Everyone needs a little love in their life, and your presence in someone else’s life can change many things. Hopefully, our world becomes more peaceful and more accepting of the different characteristics that people have.           

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Essay 'How Are You Kind To Others And How Are They Kind To You'. (2021, May 10). Retrieved December 9, 2022 , from

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