Interesting how the words empathize and sympathize have been used in this thread of posts. With King I am capable of the former -- understanding his feelings, but not the latter -- agreement with his feelings.
King's thoughts on his son found on page 110 were that Charlie…
…was “better than he was”
…was “the best thing about him”
…“made him better, because Charlie filled him with love”
…was “the only selflessness he ever knew”
Believe King felt the death of his son as a loss of personal self-worth and he could not conceive of anything to alleviate this feeling. On page 108 he thinks about how he is incapable of recovering his loss via Charlie’s widow or his granddaughter Amy. King lacks the insight, taught to us by Oprah and countless self-help books, that his self-worth has to be internal not external.
King’s lack of self-worth may explain his appalling treatment of GI’s but it does not excuse it. Nor does it excuse him not comforting his wife, Dorothy, for her grief.