Do Different Judgements Matter? Michael Jackson once sang the following lyrics in his song, Man in the Mirror: “Tm starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways, and no message could have been any clearer. If you want to make the world a better place take a look at yourself, and then make a change. ” When someone reads a book they often have a view about one or more characters. It is sometimes made before even knowing the person. In the book To Kill a Mockingbird many of the characters are being judged by people who barely know them.
There is an ugliness in the book that comes from judging people. The ultimate message is that great good can result when one defers judgement until considering things from another person’s perspective. It is true that a judgement isn’t always right until a person changes their paradigms. When Scout was judging Walter Cunningham Jr. because of what he had, Atticus told her”… You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. (Lee 39).
Some of the people in Maycomb judge Nathan ‘Boo’ Radley because they only believe what they are told about him. At the end of the novel Scout and Jem learn that Boo is like The Gray Ghost. He gets accused of creeping out at night to stalk around the neighborhood because of what the kids and adults have been told. He is also accused of stalking around because he never comes out of his house. Another time one’s view is changed was when Calpurnia took the kids with her to church.
Jem and Scout’s experiences of going to church changed because at their sermons they repeated the same stuff weekly. When they went to the First Purchase African M. E Church with Cal they learned most of the people there can’t read, and that’s why they don’t use hymn books. The kids were accepted by all the people except for Lola, but Zeboo, Cal’s son, came over to the kids and said “Mister Jem, we’re mighty glad to have you here… She’s a troublemaker from way back, got fancy ideas an’ haughty ways–we’re mighty glad to have you all. (Lee 159).
Views have been changed when Jem thought of Miss Dubose as a mean old woman for how she spoke about the Finch family compared to the view after she died. He didn’t speak up when she spoke about Scout or himself, but the minute Miss Dubose said something about Atticus that is when the tide had changed. The next time Jem passed by the older woman’s house, he destroyed her Camellia’s. Atticus had assigned Jem to clean up and work on the beautiful, white flowers, and he had to read to the old woman everyday for a month.
Jem would suffer through the whole punishment without a complaint. What the kids didn’t know was that Miss Dubose suffered from a morphine addiction, and Jem reading to her help with that problem. Jem’s perspective didn’t change until a month and a half later when Miss Dubose had passed away. She had given Atticus a single white Camellia flower to give to Jem. It was almost as if she was stating that she had for given Jem for destroying her flowers. The Camellia represents the racism in Maycomb, and with the flowers being white it hints to the racial tension in the town.
When lem read to her it showed the more appropriat handle the racism instead of acting out right away. The way his view changed was he understood more about the bravery Miss Dubose had with the addiction and how she handled what was happen to her. He also learned to ask for help when needed with a problem he can not solve on his own. Even after all the change, that has been said and seen in the novel, there are still people who disagree. They might think that even if they were to change their way of seeing something it would still have an ugliness in it.
Aunt Alexandra would rate everyone in Maycomb by who their families are, and what they did with their lives. For example, when Aunt Alexandra wouldn’t let Scout invite Walter Cunningham Jr. over because of how much money his family had. She had told Scout the following when Scout asked to have Walter Jr. over for supper: “Don’t be silly, Jean Louise. The thing is, you can scrub Walter Cunningham till he shines, you can put him in shoes and a new suit, but he’ll never be like Jem. Besides, there’s a drinking streak in that family a mile wide. Finch women aren’t interested in that sort of people. (Lee 224). There is an ugliness that comes from judging people in To Kill a Mockingbird.
When one person defers their judgement after considering it from another’s point of view, it can result in great good which is the ultimate message. There can be many opinions on this matter, and they all may be correct with the reasoning one has for it. The lesson’s from To Kill a Mockingbird apply to life outside of anything you read as well. Many people are judged before their whole story is told. The only way one person can change their judgement is by changing the way they see something first.