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"Fiction Teaches Empathy"
Fiction Teaches Empathy
Carlos Hernandez
When reading the short stories, the reader feels that fiction indeed does teach empathy. Often in a story, the reader sympathizes with a character in the story. This occurs because of how the author uses words and narrative techniques. The author uses empathy very cleverly. The characters that the author chooses to empathize are brought to life in a real form and are made more believable to the reader. All great authors and literary works use empathy, and achieve it well.

One example that suggests pity is, "I Stand Here Ironing" by Tillie Olsen. In the story the reader can easily empathize with the mother. The story is told in the first person point of view, so we learn that she has many children but is accused of neglecting her first born, Emily. At first, the reader feels sorry for Emily, "she's a youngster who needs help," but as the story continues, we learn more about the mother. As we read into the story, more empathy is collected. The mother shares with the "counselor" that "[she] loved her," and "there were all the acts of love." The reader now feels empathy for the mother and Emily.

Setting plays a big role in showing empathy. The mother explains how tough life was during the "pre-relief, pre-WPA world of the depression". Later, the mother shares that she "was nineteen" when she gave birth to Emily. Also, Emily was "neglected" because her mother was always working. Also, the mother being a single mother also adds to the empathy that the reader feels for the mother.

Tillie Olsen used point of view to create empathy for the mother. The reader may not have gained so much compassion if the story was not told in first person. Because of the point of view, "I Stand Here Ironing" makes...

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"Fiction Teaches Empathy." May 26, 2018
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