Judged by Society

It is a difficult thing to get to know about a person you have just met. The acquaintance may not have been long enough to form a judgement. But still people tend to form a certain idea about the person’s character. They form a mental picture of whatever they feel on the very first meeting with the total stranger.

There are many writers who have discussed these finer details of the human behaviour. In fact there are novels based on these issues, the most popular novel among them being “Pride and Prejudice”. It is an all time classic where Jane Austen has beautifully dissected and analysed human perception on first encounters through a very simple romantic drama. The portrayal of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy are representations of people of different levels of society who have a different set of ideals while judging other people. Ms Austen has done a great job bringing out the differences in the character of people built by society and not only by the inherent nature of the particular person. Due to the differences in the ideals, both Elizabeth and Darcy make up their minds on their first meeting as to how the other person is. The judgement is more on the basis of assumed facts which are dictated by society to reach a particular conclusion about a person. They have absolutely no basis when the ground realities are considered. This is where the first impressions falter and as we know society helps us survive many vices but also clouds our ability to form opinions free of prejudice.

Also another novel which has a similar viewpoint is North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. Here Ms Gaskell has portrayed very finely the dilemma which people in academics or the intellectual strata have about the business class. Margaret, the protagonist had such severe ideas bout Mr. Thornton’s sophistication, just because he was a factory owner. When I was reading the book, sometimes I felt for the poor labour class with which Margaret used to deeply sympathise and think Mr. Thornton to be responsible for every sorrow these people felt. She felt Mr. Thornton to be crude, incapable of finer thoughts and have a materialistic viewpoint about everything. When he made his feelings known to her, she could only give him credit for viewing love as a possession and being incapable of sentiments identifiable as love. All this was an influence of the way we are told to think about people who understand money. All the people who are part of the intellectual strata associate people with hard business intellect with coarseness. However the people who have earned a lot of money through business also have the derogatory feeling for the academics and researchers. They think that they simply do not have the expertise to make money and so will remain poor. They also most often have the tendency to judge people by their materialistic possessions and designate social status based on monetary evaluation.

But the question is should we as individuals judge another individual on a parameter so inconstant? I feel we should make an effort to be free from the dogmas of society when making a new acquaintance. The reason being that losing a future friend based on the preset ideas of society is not a wise thing to do. What do you think friends? And who knows where love awaits..

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