College Prep English
On Compassion Summary
In “On Compassion” by Barbara Lazear Ascher, she reminisces about how no one is born with compassion, but it can be taught to everyone. The woman feels uneasy when a homeless man stares at her baby on the corner. The woman tries to give a dollar to the black homeless man. The man takes the dollar, he is hesitant to take. The author asks if the woman gave the dollar out of fear or compassion. The homeless man walks into coffee shop and waits for his coffee and bag. The owner gives man a Danish and hot coffee and he’s on his way. The author again asks if it was out of pity, care or compassion. As winter comes the mayor puts homeless into Bellevue hospital. The author asks whether the rights of the homeless are being violated or if it is humane. The author explains that Empathy is born because the rich and poor come together and rich can feel what the poor are going through. The ancient Greeks learn empathy through the plays they watch, but New Yorkers learn it from watching the homeless. This is why no one is born with compassion, but we have learned over the years that we can teach it to each other.