Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Language, Literature, Culture and Education 2018

Empathic I. B. Singer: Strategies of Narrative Empathy in The Bus

Xuan Qin

Shanghai International Studies University, China


Empathy means an ability to put oneself in other’s position, condition and situation to feel others’ imagination and sensation. Result from that, Suzanne Keen has put forward the concept of strategic narrative empathy holding novel reading could form an altruistic and peaceable citizenry sometimes, but not routine. Meanwhile, Matthew Ratcliffe opposed Keen’s emphasis on individuals, he doesn’t invite empathy with an individual character but with the situation, which means to combine the phenomenology and the empathy to focus on the experience of world. Martha Nussbaum adds cultivation of moral imagination and civic impact through reading into empathy theory, just like Singer’s intention to cure the Jewish holocaust hangover for bounded audience, trigger the ethical resonance for ambassadorial audience and motivate the sympathy with human nature for broadcast audience. Singer has written for the world and his work The Bus not only has unique individual but also special situation and moral enlightenment. This paper tries to explore bounded, ambassadorial, and broadcast strategic narrative empathy in The Bus finding that the first one has showed compassion and solicitude for compatriots, the second one shares the similarity of gender, shortening the distance of female all around and the third one connects human beings to a community of common destiny, which has laid an ethical foundation for helping each other in crisis and altruistic actions.


empathy, The Bus, strategic narrative empathy