87 pages 2 hours read

Watt Key

Alabama Moon

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2006

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Empathy and Responsiveness for Others

Much of Moon’s dynamic character development rests on his arc of empathy and responsiveness for others. Initially, Moon is a young boy who does not really demonstrate empathy for others because he grew up in an environment that required more focus on skills, instincts, and arduous work. In his interior monologue, he tells his memories of Pap’s accident in a procedural tone. He wonders only briefly if the injury hurts and does not react strongly to the sight of the broken bone because his hunting and butchering skills desensitized him over time: “Seeing bone and blood and wounds was nothing to me. I dealt with them almost every day killing, skinning, and butchering animals” (17). He does try to use a light hand when he attempts to clean the wound for Pap, but as Pap refuses to allow Moon to fetch help from outside sources like Mr. Abroscotto, Moon mostly tries to stick to their routine of checking traps and dealing with caught game.

Moon’s ability to empathize is uncertain while at Pinson as well. He initiates trading places with Hal when Hal is “sentenced” to sleeping out in the cold, but whether Moon has Hal’s feelings in mind is debatable.

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By Watt Key