Empathy: What are the roles of empathy in dealing with every day life?

Essay by homeyg07College, UndergraduateA, February 2006

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When asked to describe love, William Shakespeare wrote this short verse, "Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs, being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes, being vexed, a sea nourished with lovers' tears. What is it else? A madness most discreet, a choking gall and a preserving sweet." One who has fallen into a deep love can understand this sort of torn feeling of a heaven and hell, such as Terri in "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love." No one seemed to be able to empathize with her about her love for and with her late ex, unlike the son of the hard working father in "Those Winter Sundays," who seemed to not have the ability to grasp what lonely and cold feelings his father felt. The contrasting characters in the two pieces are easy to draw out and in doing so we must show true empathy within the both of them.

In the story, "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love," Terri explains what she sees as love yet not a person sitting at the table can empathize with the confusing love that she experienced. Terri merely asks, "What do you do with a love like that?" Mel replies with, "My God, don't be silly. That's not love and you know it." He does not empathize with her emotions, nor does the narrator or Laura when they respectively say, "I'm the wrong person to ask," and ,"I don't know anything about Ed...." By replying these ways they take an easy way out of the question by seeming un-opinionated. I feel sympathy rather than empathy because of past experience but the love that she assumes she feels is no more than a shadow that covers what truly...