Society’s Ability to Judge
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, “Theology” by Paul Laurence Dunbar, and “Tableau” by Countee Cullen provide readers with different examples of how people can be separated from one another. In Frankenstein, the monster realizes that people are afraid of him because he possesses different physical attributes than everyone else, so he shuns himself from society. In “Theology”, Dunbar notices a difference between the types of people that go to heaven and hell. In “Tableau”, describes the reactions a society has to a biracial couple. By attending zen meditation, one is provided with an opportunity to increase self-awareness which can in turn cause one to pass less judgment onto others. Frankenstein, “Theology” and “Tableau” show how physical differences such as skin color and the way one looks as well as one’s personality can fall subject to judgment in society.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein depicts a seemingly misunderstood monster. The monster, to whom a name is not given, tries to blend into the society in which he was abandoned by his creator. However, his attempts are futile, as a man literally screamed and ran away from the mere sight of the monster. In turn, the monster went into hiding, yet nonetheless proceeds with his attempts at blending in with the society from which he is shunned. However, there is no reason for anyone to hide from the monster – he may have different physical attributes than the rest of society, but he is compassionate and cares for the wellbeing of others. In fact, the monster provides a family in poverty with wood that he cuts down in order to help them out. This simple action shows that the monster is possesses respectable traits and is clearly not someone from whom to run.
Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “Theology” touches upon the types of people that go to heaven and the types of people that go to hell. The speaker says that heaven exists because he can feel it in his soul, and he knows that hell exists because that is where the people around him go. In saying so, the speaker is passing judgment unto those around him. He is not God, so it is not possible for him to say for a fact what happens to people after death. The speaker is simply saying that he does not like or respect the people around him because of their actions.
Countee Cullen’s “Tableau” depicts a biracial couple that is judged equally by both blacks and whites. Onlookers stare and talk about the couple, and the couple is described as being daring. The society in which they live judges them for being together. Instead of seeing a couple holding hands in love, the society sees a black and a white holding hands. They are not viewed as a couple, but as two separate people holding hands.
Zen meditation increases one’s self-awareness, which eventually leads to feeling wholly comfortable with one’s self – flaws included. Therefore, meditation provides the chance to come to terms with and acknowledge one’s own flaws. By accepting their own flaws, it becomes difficult to pass judgment onto others without being a hypocrite. It would be unfair and out of line for one to judge others if that person is fully aware of his/her own flaws. By coming to terms with and facing yourself, you will in turn pass less judgment unto others.