Nelson Mandela once said “Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.” This quality of compassion is embodied by many characters throughout American literature. Mr. P in Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian displays compassion by guiding the way to a successful life for others.
Penelope in Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian shows compassion by being there to comfort her friends during their time of need. Inman from Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain embodies compassion by always stopping to help people in need and preventing future disasters to come. These three characters show themselves to be whole hearted human beings by putting other people before themselves with deep compassion. Mr. P from the short novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian shows compassion by guiding a successful life for others. A way Mr. P shows compassion is when he tells Arnold he needs to escape the reservation, make something of himself, and keep his hope up.
He says if Arnold continues to stay on the reservation he will not make anything of himself and will not have an opportunity to attend college. He explains he’s a bright young student with a bright future but staying on the reservation will get him nowhere. Another example of Mr. P showing compassion is when he forgives Arnold for throwing the book at him and breaking his nose. He could have held a grudge and punished him but instead he gave him advice that would eventually turn out to be Arnold’s best decision of his life.
Penelope in the short novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian shows compassion by caring for her boyfriend and making him feel good about himself. An example of Penelope showing compassion is when she sticks by Arnold’s side when she finds out he is poor, she asks Roger to drive him home so he will not have to walk or hitchhike in the cold. Normally kids who attend Reardan are wealthy so Penelope being seen with Arnold who is poor might ruin her reputation.
This goes to show she does not care about social status, she cares for what is inside of Arnold which is his love. Another example of Penelope showing compassion is when she dresses up as a homeless person for Halloween. This shows that she cares about them and instead of collecting candy she collects money and donates to the homeless.
Inman in the novel Cold Mountain constantly shows compassion by stopping to help strangers on the way even though he is rushing to get home to Cold Mountain. Inman shows compassion when he chases Teague and his group of criminals after they take Sarah’s only livestock and threatens the life of her baby. Inman could have went on his way and let them go but instead he chased after them, killed them and brought back her livestock. Another example of Inman showing compassion is when he prevents a man by the name of Solomon Veasey who is a preacher from murdering his mistress.
Solomon gets his mistress Laura Foster pregnant which is against his beliefs so he attempts to murder her. Inman sees this and stops it, then he returns her to her bedroom and warns her not to continue to associate with Solomon. He then ties Solomon to a tree with a note posted saying what he attempted to so he is banished from his town and has nowhere to go.
All three characters show huge components of compassion by doing multiple things to make sure the people they come across are helped and satisfied. Not just acts such as holding a door, acts that are life saving. Things that put people in better positions than what they were. Each person represents their own unique way of showing compassion. Possibly one day everybody will let that way of compassion show for one another and work towards one common goal of achieving world peace.
Courtney from Study Moose
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