When thinking of the service I have done, there has always been a part of me that has been quick to judge those that I have been volunteering for. I do enjoy helping them and giving my time to make their lives better, but I would be lying if I said that there wasn’t a small part of me that felt a little bit judgemental. Why are we so quick to judge everyone all the time? Even if we aren’t expressing our judgment verbally, we still judge people in our heads. We are so quick to jump to conclusions about people, even before we know anything about them. Even when we spend our time trying to serve them, there is still a small part of us that assumes poor things about them.
In Paul Lawrence Dunbar’s “Theology”, the speaker talks about how he knows that heaven exists and that he is meant to end up in heaven after his life is over. He is so sure that it exists that he says, “The upward longing of my soul doth tell me so” (Dunbar). He also says that he is fairly sure that hell exists as well. He questions where his neighbors would end up if there was no hell. When the speaker says this, he makes it clear that he is drawing conclusions that his neighbors are not good people. He may know his neighbors well, or not well at all, but either way he is making an assumption about where his neighbors are going to end up after their lives on earth are over. It is not our job to determine whether other people are going to end up going to heaven or to hell. Similarly to being quick to judge people while doing service, the speaker easily jumps to conclusions when it comes to his neighbors’ fate.
In Countee Cullen’s “Tableau”, a black boy and a white boy join hands and walk in unison. People talk and are shocked to see these two boys of different races joining together. This racial harmony reminds us that again we are quick to judge others. People have been prejudice against other races for all eternity. It’s strange that people would so easily judge someone based on the color of their skin. Cullen’s poem reminds us that there is no point in judging others and that we all can live in harmony with one another if we chose to ignore the pressure we are under to draw conclusions about each other.
In Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”, we are introduced to Victor Frankenstein, a passionate scientist studying at the University of Ingolstadt. He loves to experiment on how things that are not alive can be given life again. He creates an ugly creature out of different corpses that ends up coming alive. Victor is disgusted with his work. He hears of his younger brother’s murder and decides to leave the University to go home to be with his family. When he arrives home, he sees the creature and he knows that he was the one that murdered his younger brother. When Victor goes off into the mountains to be at peace with nature, he sees the creature again and he tells him his life’s story. The monster tells him of a family that he had been stalking. He seems to like them and does small deeds of kindness for them without them knowing. He also complains about how people are terrified of him because he is so ugly. Despite being somewhat of a kind monster with good intentions, the creature is still judged so quickly by those around him. Even Victor, who created him, is disgusted by his ugliness. Again, this goes to show that we so easily judge a book by its cover.
If we want to change the way we act towards others, we need to change our attitude as a society. Today we are so quick to jump to conclusions about people we hardly even know. We judge people when they are poor or in need, we assume where they are going to end up in the afterlife, we judge people based on the color of their skin, and we judge them by their appearance. If we want to make a change and stop making assumptions about people, we need to begin being more accepting of others and the way they act and look.