The challenges people face during interactions include overcoming first impressions and then up keeping relationships. Frankenstein in the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelly, Titus in the play “Titus Andronicus” by William Shakespeare, as well as the speakers is the poems “Theology” by Paul Laurence Dunbar and “Tableau” by Countee Cullen deal with the struggles that result from impressions and situations that are foreign to their own. With their current mindset they have difficulty adapting and are forced to make realizations and change their thinking accordingly.
The harmony of races in the poem “Tableau” by Countee Cullen is the instigating factor for tension between whites and blacks. A white boy and a black boy decide to be friends but the deeper meaning lies in the deep-rooted hatred by their races. In the second stanza “from lowered blinds the dark folk stare” and the white people speak to each other that “these two should dare In unison to walk.” The two boys know they are walking a dangerous path in the middle ground between the races. They know they are being judged but continue with love and this fosters a friendship. In the poem “Theology” by Paul Laurence, the speaker is also at a middle ground finding himself caught in a debate as to if there is a heaven and a hell. He is pulled by his feelings and beliefs that there is a heaven. He has a hope because he believes himself to be on the course to that higher place. This is made certain as he explains that hell is the place designed for his neighbors. As a black person, his neighbors that are destined for hell could be whites. As a peaceful man of god, he may be inclined to view the hate dealt by another race as sinful and thus believes that hate will lead to damnation.
Power causes one to become engrossed in oneself and miss out on the opportunities to view others in a light that they should be seen. In Frankenstein the narrator, Frankenstein is obsessed with acquiring knowledge and eventually the idea that he can bring the dead to life takes over his thoughts, so much so that he no longer writes home to the people he loves. Unfortunately, Frankenstein receives a shock when he adds the spark of life to his creation. He is overwhelmed by the hideous frame of a man and fails to even comprehend his accomplishments or test the creation for knowledge or abilities. He only believes in misfortune and cannot see past the surface of his creation. Yet this is a common theme. One word that occurs in the novel often is countenance, meaning expression or behavior. Frankenstein assumes much about his fellow characters from their countenances, including his professors and even his family. This theme is also present in the play “Titus Andronicus”. The characters are masks of their own countenances. In the beginning, the killing of Bassianus, lover of Lavinia, sets in motion the false pretenses and deception of the play. Soon lies are spun and the Andronici family cannot trust anyone but themselves. This mistrust through acts of dishonor is common until Tamora, queen of the Goths and Empress, decides to act as Revenge and visit Titus with her sons portrayed as Murder and Rape, thinking that Titus was mad. Instead, Titus flips the tables on the queen’s scheme and reverses the action against Tamora. The ability to see through the lies and determine truth is what makes Titus the hero of the story.
In all, there are ways to gain and maintain trust. One is to not judge based on first impressions. Judgments are only made successfully when one such as Titus or the speaker in “Theology” has gained substantial knowledge of the studied person. In the case of the observers in “Tableau” and Frankenstein, they are biased based on their conformity to the rules of society around them. Anything that goes against these principles was foreign and therefore they distinguished them as something from which to steer away.