Can Empathy be Learned? Exploring Violet Evergarden’s Growth as a Character

Violet Evergarden gazing at a green, shiny brooch

Violet Evergarden, a name synonymous with quiet grace and unwavering determination, embodies a question that has resonated throughout human history: can empathy, that elusive understanding of another’s heart, be taught? Born not into a cradle, but a battlefield, Violet’s world was one of orders and objectives, devoid of the gentle whispers of human emotion.

Yet, amidst the wreckage of war, a single spark ignited a journey of transformation, a testament to the enduring power of human connection.

Can a Weapon Learn to Love? The Emotional Journey of Violet Evergarden

From Tool to Doll: A Blossoming of Curiosity

A young Violet Evergarden standing amidst the burning wood, holding a weapon in her hand
Violet Evergarden | Image courtesy of Kyoto Animation

Imagine a life where every action is dictated, every feeling muted. This was Violet’s reality. Trained as a weapon, she moved through the world with the efficiency of a machine, her face an emotionless mask. A child who did not have the warmth of home growing up will burn the world down to feel something akin to it.

Yet, beneath the surface, a flicker of curiosity, a seed of understanding, began to sprout. Her encounter with Gilbert, a man who saw beyond the weapon and recognized the girl within, became the catalyst for change. He taught her the language of words, and the warmth of human connection, and ignited a desire to understand the enigmatic concept of love.

Empathy Through Ink and Paper

Violet Evergarden sitting on a ladder propped against the bookshelves in the library
Violet Evergarden | Image courtesy of Kyoto Animation

Fueled by this newfound curiosity, Violet embarked on a unique path: becoming an Auto Memories Doll. Her task? To translate the unspoken emotions of others into words, weaving stories of love, loss, and longing onto paper. Each letter was a window into the human soul, a fragment of experience that chipped away at the walls around Violet’s heart.

As she navigated the complexities of human relationships, the nuances of joy and sorrow, a profound truth emerged: empathy wasn’t a switch to be flipped, but a muscle to be exercised.

The Scars of War and the Seeds of Compassion

Violet Evergarden standing in a meadow
Violet Evergarden | Image courtesy of Kyoto Animation

However, the path to empathy wasn’t paved with roses. The ghosts of Violet’s past, the lives she took in the name of duty, haunted her. Guilt gnawed at her, a constant reminder of the pain she inflicted. Yet, it was through confronting these shadows that true compassion blossomed. She began to understand the weight of her actions, and the ripple effect of her choices on the lives of others. This understanding fueled a newfound determination to use her skills not just to write words, but to mend hearts.

The Language of Love

Violet Evergarden and Gilbert holding hands
Violet Evergarden | Image courtesy of Kyoto Animation

As Violet delved deeper into the world of emotions, the phrase “I love you,” once a mere string of words, began to resonate with a profound meaning. The love she shared with Gilbert, a love that transcended physical limitations, became the guiding light on her journey. It was through this love that she finally grasped the true essence of empathy, not just understanding another’s feelings, but sharing their burdens, celebrating their joys, and striving to make their world a little brighter.

From Weapon to Woman

Violet Evergarden gazing into the sunset
Violet Evergarden | Image courtesy of Kyoto Animation

Violet Evergarden’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of human connection. It reminds us that empathy, like a flower pushing through concrete, can bloom even in the harshest environments. It challenges our preconceived notions of what it means to be human, suggesting that even a weapon, devoid of initial understanding, can blossom into a beacon of compassion. As Violet stands tall at the end of her journey, her eyes shining with newfound understanding, we are left with a powerful message: empathy is not a fixed state, but a continuous journey, fueled by curiosity, love, and the unwavering will to connect.

Studies suggest that the mirror neuron system, a group of brain cells that fire when we observe or perform actions, plays a crucial role in empathy. As Violet witnesses and experiences human emotions, her own capacity for empathy may have been activated through this system.


A letter with a red seal resting atop a field of purple flowers
Violet Evergarden | Image courtesy of Kyoto Animation

Violet Evergarden’s story is not just a tale of a weapon learning to love, but a universal reminder that empathy is a journey we all take. It’s a journey fueled by curiosity, shaped by experience, and ultimately, a testament to the enduring power of human connection.

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