Albert Einstein alleges, “What a sad era when it is easier to smash an atom than a prejudice.” The society implants unjustifiable prejudices into the minds of children which creates lasting impressions as they grow. It is extremely challenge for them to lose this tradition of unjustly judging and misunderstanding others. To Kill A Mockingbird, a novel written by Harper Lee, portrays the change in the children’s perspectives of Boo from a mysterious and evil person into a kind, caring, and protective one. In the novel To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee depicts through Boo Radley that through compassion, kindness, and courage one overcomes the ill effects of prejudice and strengthens relationships.
Unfairly judging people without valid reason and shunning them is a massive flaw in our narrow minded society and has detrimental consequences. While characterizing Boo to Dill, Jem and Scout state rumors that Miss Stephanie Crawford is spreading. They explain, “Miss Stephanie Crawford said she woke up in the middle of the night one time and saw him looking straight through the window at her… said his head was like a skull lookin’ at her” (Lee 12-13). Rumors about Boo being a menace, make the citizens of Maycomb fabricate stories about him. Everything Maycomb assumes about him is due to inflexible and irrational opinions.
Unfounded biases make the community fearful of him and as a result alienate him. One harsh winter, Scout and Jem hear of Mrs. Radley’s death and quickly assume, “Jem and I decided that Boo had got her at last, but when Atticus returned from the Radley house he said she died of natural causes, to our disappointment” (Lee 64). After hearing what some people of Maycomb say, the rest of the community quickly jumps to the conclusion that Boo Radley is the root of most problems. Even the death of Boo’s mother doesn’t make the children feel compassionate towards Boo. The children only feel defeated, since this incident disproves their opinions on Boo. A monumental problem in our society is people treating others negatively based on their unreasonable opinions which has an adverse effect.
Having the courage and ability to show compassion towards biased individuals is a powerful action that helps build strong relationships. One early morning, everyone in the neighborhood runs out to see the fire and help out. Scout comes back into the house with a blanket and Atticus feels Scout should thank whoever helps her stay warm. Scout responded, ““Thank who?” I asked. “Boo Radley. You were so busy looking at the fire you didn’t know it when he put the blanket around you”” (Lee 72). Boo Radley, without a second thought, risks his privacy by leaving the security of his house. He exhibits selflessness and risk everything he has to protect someone who doesn’t even care about him. His bravery and compassion leads him to be closer to Scout, by changing her point of view on him. While Jem lies unconscious as a result of the attack, Boo pets him and then asks Scout to escort him back to his house. As Scout accompanies Boo back to the Radley Place, she realizes, “Boo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a pair of good luck pennies, and our lives” (Lee 278). Scout never thinks of Boo Radley as a neighbor or a friend, she only understands his true nature after he saves her life. Scout starts to feel sorry that she doesn’t reciprocate Boo’s kind gestures. She begins to value Boo’s place in her life and truly appreciates his caregiving behavior. Courage to display compassion change people’s’ negative perspectives and forces them to strengthen their bonds.
Harper Lee, the renowned author of To Kill A Mockingbird, conveys through Boo Radley that prejudices based on unfounded assumptions produces social conflicts which only compassion and courage can resolve. To summarize, judging people is easy to do, but getting to know them for who they really are is a challenge most people are unwilling to undertake. Oprah Winfrey rightfully explains, “Real integrity is doing to right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.”
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