Katie Blair’s thoughts on Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay’s “Misfit”

When reading “Misfit,” I immediately recognized the disparity between the responses to someone with autism in humans versus nature. In the poem, the narrator says, “the birds knew I was Autistic; they found no wrong with anything,” followed by the contrast of the narrator saying, “men and women stared at my nodding; they labeled me as a misfit” (Mukhopadhyay). The idea that the birds see the narrator’s autism as no wrong, or nothing out of the ordinary symbolizes a sort of innocence from the ablest mindset of normalcy compared to disability. I perceive the birds as being innocent of societies wrongful influence on young people’s view of those with disabilities such as autism, compared to the men and women who have already been influenced by the harmful idea that able bodies are the only “normal” bodies. I relate this concept to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird because of the way Scout perceives Tom Robinson. Although I am comparing Scout’s perception of race and the bird’s perception of disability, I believe both characters relay the same idea of innocence to societies false interpretations that some people are superior to others. For example, in To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout is often confused about why Tom Robinson’s race is the reason for the townspeople rooting against him and for his guilty sentence even though he was innocent. Since Scout grew up with Atticus teaching her to treat everyone as equals, from treating Walter Cunningham respectfully to defending Tom Robinson in court, she hasn’t been introduced to the racist ideologies within other people in Maycomb. Scout not knowing the ideas of racism resembles the birds in “Misfit,” since the birds don’t know that humans have set ideas of what is normal and what is seen as different or “misfit.”  The views that Scout and the birds have on both Tom Robinson and the narrator with autism are refreshing since they don’t carry any negative and false societal impressions of racism or ableism. 

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