People Are Not Defined by Their Looks “Atticus was right. One time he said you never really knew a man, until you stand in his shoes and walk around them” (Lee 279). One of the most important themes in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird deals with the idea that appearance and reality are not necessarily the same or that getting to know a person can sometimes be a revelation. The town judges the personality of Tom Robinson based on his skin colour. Black people are not all the same, yet Calpurnia is misjudged by the town, she is educated and has different qualities than what the town knows. Arthur Radley (Boo) is the victim of childish rumours that are completely false. People are judged based on their looks and habits before people get to know them. The town judges the personality of Tom Robinson based on his skin colour, rather than his real personality. Tom is an honest man, “Tom Robinson shut his eyes tight. ‘He says goddamned whore, I’ll kill ya’” (195). This shows that Tom did not want to remember what happened, but that he was also nervous about telling the truth. He is a hard-working man, and likes to help other people. “ ‘Were you paid for your services?’ ‘No suh […] I was glad to do it’” (191). Tom enjoyed helping Mayella with the chore because he knew that she struggled, this shows that he does not mind helping others without getting paid, although most black people would want to get paid for helping a white person. People do not believe Tom and think that he is lying about what happened.
“--the evil assumption that all Negroes lie, that all Negroes are basically immoral beings, that all Negro men are not to be trusted around our women” (205). People will always believe a white persons word to a black persons word because white people believe they are superior to the blacks, and because Tom is black they believe that he is lying and that he is not worthy of anything, and that he is automatically guilty, whether or not he is telling the truth. People do not realize that the personality of Tom Robinson is not defined by the colour of his skin. Black people are not all the same, yet Calpurnia is misjudged by the town, she is educated and has different qualities that what the town knows. Although Calpurnia is help in the Finch household, she is treated like family. “ ‘I missed you today’ […] Calpurnia bent down and kissed me” (29). This shows that the family trusts her, and most black people that work in white homes are not treated equal, and if they kissed the children they would be punished, but Calpurnia knows she is family to the children, so she acts like a mother, since the kids do not have one. Throughout the novel Scout bonds with Calpurnia, “I tried pressing my behind against the door as Calpurnia had done, but the door doesn’t budge” (229). Since Scout has become closer with Calpurnia, she wants to act like her and do the same things that Calpurnia does, Scout looks up to her, she is now a role model in Scouts life. Since Calpurnia is educated, she has taught Scout to write. “She would set me a writing task by scrawling the alphabet” (19) Calpurnia is able to read and write, unlike other black people, so she is also able to teach others, she teaches Scout to write before attending school, giving Scout more knowledge. People do not think Calpurnia is able to read and write, yet they are mistaken. Cooper, 3 Arthur Radley (Boo) is the victim of childish rumours that are completely false. Rumours say that he just wants to…