A boy walks guardedly down the hallway at Steepleton High School. He smiles his big goofy smile, pretending to be “superpopular,” and waves to kids as they pass him by. And pass him by they do. Everybody as Steepleton High knows that Christopher Creed is “weird.” He is always smiling and he annoys everyone. Although Creed pretends that everybody likes him, deep down he knows that nobody wants to be his friend. But what everybody in Steepleton did not know was that Creed was only lying to himself in order to survive. The novel “The Body of Christopher Creed,” by Carol Plum-Ucci, was written with the purpose to help people, particularly children, understand what could happen when people refuse to see the truth, when they lie in order to obtain their reality, and when they lack the tolerance and compassion for others.
When people refuse to see the truth, many times it is because it does not fit into their reality. It is not how things should be, therefore it cannot be true. Because of this biased thinking innocent people end up getting hurt. The small town of Steepleton was full of people who refused to see the truth. They had a kid in their school who led a tortured life-yet nobody even noticed. They just saw an annoying kid who was always smiling, talking, and following them around. It was easier to believe that everybody had a perfect life than to accept something so horrible. Torey Adams was one of the few people in that town who could see the truth. Realizing the truth and then accepting it opened his eyes to how people really are and how he could change himself to be a person that someone like Christopher Creed could come to for help. Torey wrote, “People only see as far as they are able, and the rest of the truth is lost on them,” (216). Trying to tell them otherwise would ruin their reality, like it did to Torey’s friend, Alex.
Because people could not accept the truth, they ended up lying so that it could fit their reality. Renee ended up saying that the boon Bo Richardson killed Creed and that Torey knew where the body was because it was the only thing that made sense in her mind. Bo was another victim of Steepleton because people only saw him as a boon. Practically the entire school thought that boons were fierce, horrible, smelly people, so naturally they thought that it was one of them who killed Creed. They just assumed that Bo was a bad guy without ever considering that he had a nice side to him as well, such as looking after his little siblings at home while his mom decided to disappear for a week, “This [lying] has been going on for centuries. It’s not cultural, it’s universal. This picking of truths, like you’re picking melons at Superfrest,” (226). Tory could not understand why people told lies. The truth was right in front of them yet if it was not the truth they wanted, then they made up a lie. Even Chief Bowen wanted Torey and Ali to lie in order to get what he wanted. He told them to say it wasn’t them who made the prank call, even if it was. “He wanted us to say it was Bo, even if it wasn’t true, just so his kids’ best friends would be off the hook,” (103). Bowen automatically accused Bo of having something to do with Creed’s disappearance because he had been arrested for breaking and entering before, although he had never stolen anything. Bowen was not any different from the students at Steepleton High. He was prejudice against the boons and refused to alter his reality; even if it meant convicting an innocent person.
Besides lacking the ability to see the truth, the people of Steepleton lacked tolerance and compassion as well. Instead of trying to understand Creed, the kids poked fun at him and beat him up. Because Creed could not take that kind of life, he disappeared. He did not disappear to die though. He disappeared to live. This was something he could not do in Steepleton with his mom controlling every inch of his life and his school life being a living hell. He left the parts he hated about himself behind so he could start over. So he could become “a person with the traits he admired in each of the people he mentioned in his note,” (243-244). He actually wanted to become like the people who were always mean to him. This was not the first time that this sort of thing had happened in Steepleton however. Another teenage boy had gone missing in the 70’s. The kids then had not been any different. They had called him names behind his back and finally he just could not take it any more. So, like Creed, he left. The father had blamed the kids for driving him away just like Mrs. Creed had blamed Bo for killing her son. And in response, the town had blamed the father for driving his own son away, just like some of the kids had ended up blaming the Creeds. “Nobody wants to take responsibility. Nobody wants to admit they had a part in it. So, they just spend a lot of time pointing the finger, and things just get worse and worse,” (114). The town’s lack of tolerance and compassion had resulted in the disappearance of two kids and the death of one father. Lucky for them, Torey had learned what the words tolerance and compassion meant. He was one of the few that was insightful enough to see that the town had been given a second chance to set right the harm that was caused before by not making the same mistake twice. Torey understood that it was not right to blame the Creeds for their son’s disappearance any more than it was right to blame Bo. In both cases, the town had blamed the parents and the parents had blamed the town because it was easier than admitting that they were partly responsible themselves.
Christopher Creed’s disappearance was not in vain. People who could not see what was right in front of them before, can now accept the truth and if they do not like it they can actually do something about it, instead of denying it. It might have ruined their ideal realities in the process, but learning tolerance and compassion was well worth it. People who refuse to see the truth, people who lie, and those who lack tolerance and compassion for others are really just afraid to step out side of their own perfect world. They are afraid to deal with problems so they pretend they do not exist. Without Creed’s disappearance, Torey may have never come to realize that the world is real and that people can not just ignore reality. They have to face it.