Don’t judge a book by its cover, and this is the most common moral phrase used in the world and the classrooms. The phrase means that we should not judge a book by its cover or try to look deeper into reality rather than being fooled by outward appearance, which can be sometimes deceptive.
For example, when we buy a book, we usually rely on its cover, but that does not mean that a book with a not-so-appealing cover would prove bad or boring. Despite knowing all these things, we judge people and other things merely by outward appearance.
Origin of the idiom/phrase:-
This phrase has originated very recently. It was first found in a 1944 edition of the African Journal of American Speech “you can’t judge a book by its binding”.
It got the fame, and its usage increased when it appeared in the 1946 murder mystery Murder in the Glass Room by Lester Fuller and Edwin Rolfe: “You can never tell a book by its cover.”
Having read the above sentences, you must now be aware of the true meaning of this phrase. This idiom has a deep meaning attached to it. Outward appearance shows us only what the person wants us to see or know; we cant look beneath someone’s skin, so we cant truly know about the nature of someone only based on materialistic assumptions.
Only when we give time to things and people that they reveal their true selves; do they slowly and gradually remove the layers they use to hide their authenticity.
Just like books, the appearance of humans can also be very deceptive. Sometimes good books may have off-putting covers, and similarly, bad books may have fantastic covers. So that is why we can not judge a book by its cover.
Saying or assuming that a beautiful person on the outside may also be beautiful on the inside is wrong and irrational. To save the young kids from such deceptions, their moral teachers start teaching them the lesson of “don’t judge a book by its cover”.
It would be easier to understand the true essence of this quote or phrase with the help of a short story. Phrases are usually illustrated with the help of a story or a tale.
Once there was a lady who was a vegetable vendor. She had one daughter and a dog. The woman loved her dog and her daughter. Her dog was very loyal to her and always did what she said, and he was an obedient pet.
Once she went to the market to sell some stock of vegetables. Back at home, when the daughter was sleeping, a snake came inside and tried to harm her, but the dog safeguarding the daughter killed the snake, and now his mouth was all covered in blood.
When the woman returned, she was horrified to see that the floor was all red with blood and blood on the dog’s mouth, so she assumed that the dog had eaten up her daughter.
The woman was furious; she took a stick and thrashed her dog. Later, when she went to bed, she saw that her daughter was sleeping peacefully. She was humiliated for beating her dog, and she felt guilty for not trying to understand the situation. She searched for her dog, who had run away due to his heartbreak.
After days, she found her dog, She apologised to him a lot. The woman felt that she should have tried to look deeper into the scene rather than judging the integrity of the dog with this impulsiveness.
Moral of the story:-
The first thing that comes to our senses is that we should not be like the woman and form opinions and ideas based on prima facie. The clouds of assumption usually cover reality, and thus it gives us a foggy perception. This is why it is expected of people that they don’t judge a book by its covers as the woman judged the character of her dog.
She wouldn’t have beaten her dog if she had been more conscious of her judgment. Various examples around us portray the idea of not judging someone solely based on external materials.
The benefit of conforming to the phrase:-
When you decide to not judge a book by its cover, your life and personality are surrounded by a positive aura. If a person starts following this idiom, he will realise how helpful it is. If you are someone who tries to look deeper into anyone’s character, then it becomes very difficult to make a fool out of you.
You become a smart person since you’re not captivated by external beauty. You start understanding the concept of quality and authenticity. If you don’t judge a book by its cover, your mental horizon starts broadening, and you start learning things that you otherwise wouldn’t have done. This phrase can be very helpful and can assist you in having an honest approach to life.
This idiom has become very common these days, but the number of people who follow it is still unknown. People have a lot of knowledge about such phrases and idioms, but they don’t inculcate this knowledge in their lives which is very important.
Follow the correct path:-
The true meaning of this idiom must be clear by now, and even the benefits of its use have been listed above. So now there is no room for not following this phrase in your real life.
But in The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare has said,” If to do were as easy as to know what we’re good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men’s cottages princes palaces. It is a good divine that follows his instructions: I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done than be one of the twenty to follow mine own teaching”.
This saying means that what people preach is what they are not likely to follow themselves. Teaching and following your principles are two entirely different things, and it is not easy to follow what you teach others. If it had been that easy, the world would be different.
Mostly, the spiritual teachers themselves don’t follow what they teach and tell their followers to do. Similarly, Shakespeare says that if preachers followed their preaching, the small chapels would become huge churches, and small cottages would become huge and enormous palaces for princes. Still, sadly, this doesn’t happen, which is why people suffer and make a fool out of themselves.
Like this, we know the pros of not judging a book by its cover, but we still do it every chance we get because passing judgements based on outward appearances is a very naturalised behaviour. We do it so nicely that we don’t even realise our mistake. Although we do this, it is not rational to pass judgements in such a silly manner and so impulsively without trying to look beneath the layers.
We need to realise that the boundary between reality and deception is very foggy or blurred, and that is why people don’t realise that what they are seeing can be false, unreal or negative.
People can very easily deceive us in no time. With the advent of amazing technology, the deception process has become all the more easy. In the modern world, we need to be very vigilant while conversing with people, and even in general, we need to be extra aware.
But let’s not forget about the good that is out there in the world. Not judging a book is a very easy task; all you have to do is treat people with kindness and have some patience while dealing with people.
We need to give time to our relationships, and we should not just run to conclusions because humans are very delicate and complicated. In the first meeting, we cant establish the nature or characteristics of someone.
Sometimes people hide their true selves for personal reasons, and we provide them with a comfortable space to open up. They reveal their true nature and authentic personality.
Hence, you should never judge a book by its cover, and you must also not judge a person or s situation by just one look or outward appearances because appearances can be deceptive. All that glitters is not always gold.
That is why we should never let our guards down and always try to act smartly and protect ourselves from the frauds, and we should also be able to identify the love and the spirit in and around our lives because that is how we learn and survive in this cruel yet so pretty world.