People can often be treated and judged in a less than equal manner before people even know the true nature of the person, such as the way that the Finch children think that Boo Radley is some kind of a monster. Or the way people call Atticus Finch is called a nigger-lover. One of my most favorite quotations is that of Martin Luther King Junior. “I have a dream, that one day my children will be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” People should make judgements of the person’s character, not by their appearance, race, religion, sexuality, and morals.
One of the main focuses of the book is the Finch children trying to get Boo Radley next door to come out of his house. To them he is a mean monstrous person. But for some reason they seem to think that tormenting him is the best way to occupy their time. In fact, to the whole town the Radley family are mean people that kept to them selves. “There goes the meanest man ever God blew breath into,” said Calpurnia (page 12). This shows how mean people can be just by judging others by their outsides. What gives these people the right to make these kind of conclusions without ever even meeting the person(s).
Later in the book the Finch children find presents hidden in a tree next to the Radley place. They can’t figure out who would set these nice gifts out for them. Later they find out that is Boo Radley. He is just trying to be nice and other people won’t accept his original approach on life. At one point in the book the children decide to go up onto the porch to try and get a peak inside the window. Then they see Mr. Radley inside with a shotgun and they ran away. Jem got her pants ripped off on a fence and returned later to retrieve them and she found them mended and laying over the fence. Another example of how nice the Radley’s are is when it was shivering cold outside someone places a blanket over Scout’s shoulders. Only later does she realize that the act was performed by the mysterious Boo Radley. I have just given multiple examples straight from the book of how the personalities of the person can be radically different from their appearance. That leads back to my thesis of judging people by their character not their outer shell.
One more maddening incident in the book that made me just furious when I read it was when people started calling Atticus Finch a nigger-lover. When I think of the Nazi Holocaust, and slavery in the U.S. in the 1800’s, I just get an anger built up inside of me. I don’t see how people can hate a group of people because of their religion or race. Back to the Atticus Finch incident, there is nothing wrong with defending someone you think is guilty and there is no reason to believe that they’re guilty just because of the color of their skin. Why must people use the term nigger-lover is someone is helping out a black person. Why must people make it their business, and why must they get into something that has nothing to do with them. They don’t even know the real truth.
In conclusion, people make me sick. There is no reason why there should be any kind of racial or religious kind of discrimination. This book is a perfect example of discriminating people based upon their outer shell. I liked this book and it should be read by all so that everyone can understand the horrors of discrimination, past and present.
March 12, 1997