Salon talks to Katie Rose Guest Pryal about the skeptical scholarship on the hero of “To Kill a Mockingbird”
But some readers of the book never took Atticus as a hero for racial justice. One of them was Katie Rose Guest Pryal, who wrote a 2010 essay, “Walking in Another’s Skin: Failure of Empathy in to Kill a Mockingbird,” that took a dissenting view.
“Empathy — how it is discussed and deployed by both the characters in ‘Mockingbird’ and by the author, Lee — is a useful lens to view the depictions of racial injustice in ‘Mockingbird,’ because empathy is the moral fulcrum on which the narrative turns.”
(It’s contained in a book of new “Mockingbird” essays edited by Michael J. Meyer.) But the book, she argues, fails at its goal of generating empathy across racial lines.