Drawing on empirical studies, the article argues that developing moral character and advancing social justice through literary study is both eminently feasible and profoundly ethical, and that claims to the contrary are based on faulty notions of the psychological bases of morality and justice. The article explains how certain literary texts together with certain pedagogical practices can achieve these ends by training students to recognize two key but routinely overlooked facts about other people—their profound sameness and interconnectedness with oneself and their ultimate blamelessness for negative life outcomes, behaviors, and character traits—as well as a key fact about themselves: that they are inherently compassionate, as manifested by their compassionate impulses and the gratification they get from helping others in need.

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