Thursday, January 10, 2008

Is Atticus a Criminal?: Bob Ewell's death


In class, you have begun to debate if Atticus can be called a hypocrite. Let's push this further (thanks, Zoe!). In failing to arrest Boo Radley at the end, Sheriff Tate is breaking the law, as is Atticus, who knows the truth of Ewell's murder. Do you agree with some critics that Atticus's actions are hypocritical, immoral, as well as illegal? Support your position.

17 comments:

Meghan McBrien said...

I don't believe that Atticus' actions are hypocritical because he was doing what was best in a certain situation. The people of Maycomb believe that Boo Radley is crazy becuase of the many rumors and the different steryotypes. I believe that Atticus is protecting Boo from other people. I don't believe that what they did is illegal because Bob Ewell tried to kill Jem and Scout and Boo protected them.

Kerry said...

I think that Atticus' actions are not immoral because he thought it was Jem at first who killed Bob. He was telling Heck Tate that if it was hushed up then the way he was trying to raise Jem would be ruined.He tells him that Jem looks to him first. Then, Heck told him that Jem did not kill him but Arthur did. They both decided together to keep it a secret and that the dead may bury the dead to stop people from bothering him.

Zoe said...

I don't think that Atticus's actions were illegal, because Boo did what was right in the situation of Bob Ewell's attack. Boo was protecting children and without him the children could have been dead. Atticus is also protecting Boo from any further humilation and abuse from the town and his family.

ambika said...

No, I don't think that Atticus's actions are immoral. Atticus wants to do whatever benefits his children. Sheriff Tate and Atticus break the law because they believe that this is the best option for Scout and Jem. Since Boo Radley rescued them, Atticus doesn't want the town gossiping about Boo and the entire situation.

shane said...

I agree with Zoe that what Boo did was more self defense for the kids. If word got out that Boo commited the murder then Boo would have an even worse reputation in the town and could possibly be put on trial.

Amanda said...

I agree with Zoe. Boo protected Scout and Jem in saving their lives. SO in return Atticus protected him sort of like thanking him for saving his kids. Boo had a good reason to hurt Ewell and Atticus knew this so he was not at all being hypocrital.

jaime brosnan said...

I agree with Amanda. Atticus is not being hypocritical because he is being his usual good self by protecting Boo. Boo is a good person and the only reason he killed Bob Ewell was to to protect Jem and Scout. Atticus just wants to help out Boo to return the favor of Boo saving his kids. At a legal perspective, his actions are illegal because Boo killed someone but Bob Ewell tried to kill Atticus' children so Boo would not get in trouble because he was just protecting the kids.

Megan Veirun said...

I believe that Atticus' actions are hypocritical and immoral. Atticus always tells his chrildren to never lie and he often uses tricks to make them confess. Atticus is going against his most valued morals and lying to the whole town. On the other hand, in this case it was the right thing for Atticus to do. Boo has been through enough in his life and he was just defending the children. He did not intentionally kill Bob. However, I believe that if it was any other man that killed Bob Ewell they would have been arrested.

Cristelle said...

While what Megan V. said may be true, I believe in the statement that "desperate times call for desperate measures", and that if Atticus did "rat out" Boo Radley, he would be going against his morals of trying to do the right thing for everyone else's benefit. I also believe that it would go against a major lesson he tries to teach Scout, which is that she shouldn't prejudge people until she looks at things from their perspective. If Atticus was Boo Radley, he might have done the same thing. And while what Boo did is considered illegal by law, in Atticus' eyes he saved Scout and Jem's lives at the same time and also saved Bob Ewell's children from living with a drunk abusive father. But I do agree with Megan when she says if anyone else did what Boo did, it would have been considered morally wrong. However, I generally think that Atticus did the right thing by his moral standards.

allison said...

I agree with Cristelle. If Atticus was put into the exact situation Boo was in he would have done whatever it takes to save Jem and Scout, especially from Bob Ewell. I think that if Boo killed any other white person in town, he would have been arrested without any question.

vickie said...

I agree with Cristelle. Although by law, what Atticus and Heck Tate are doing is illegal, I believe they are still doing the right thing. If everyone put themselves in Boo's shoes, they would've all tried to protect the children in that situation. Even if they told the truth and Boo was put on trial and found guilty, he would still be miserable and lonely just like he is at home.

allison said...

Heck Tate says, "I never heard tell that it’s against the law for a citizen to do his utmost to prevent a crime from being committed, which is exactly what he did, but maybe you’ll say it’s my duty to tell the town all about it and not hush it up." This is exactly what Boo does to protect Scout and Jem from Bob. It is better that it stays a secret, so Boo doesn't have unwanted fame, or go to jail.

jaime brosnan said...

Yes, I believe that Atticus' actions are hypocritical and illegal. He is definitely not the type of person who would do something against the law since he is always teaching his kids to live by moral codes. Although, it is the right thing to do because Boo helped Atticus and he is just returning the favor his actions are still hypocrital, immoral and illegal.

George Delgrosso said...

I do think that Atticus is a criminal. The law says that it is not illegal to kill someone in an act of SELF DEFENSE. Boo wasn't defending himself,he was defending Scout and Jem, so that makes it completely and utterly illegal. If Jem and Scout had defended themselves, and killed Bob Ewell than, there would have been different consequences. Atticus, and Heck have no right to let Boo go free; nobody should be an acception to the law. No matter how innocent they have been in the past

David Morris said...

I hate to admit it, but I agree with George on the fact that, by the laws set in place by our society, by letting Mr. Arthur go unimpeded, Atticus and Heck are doing something technically illegal. Their actions, however, are in no way hypocritical. Atticus, for all his life, would do anything to protect his children from harm. This does not change when he keeps his mouth shut about Mr. Arthur, because this is thanking him for protecting the lives of his two children. Atticus also knows that there is no point in trying Mr. Arthur in court for the murder of a murderer because he knows, as a lawyer, that the jury would just find him innocent. Also, if Mr. Arthur was tried, he would be revered as a town hero. Endless attention will be given to him, even though he has been trying to avoid for all of these years. In Allowing him to go free, Atticus is not trying to cause anybody pain, on the contrary, he is trying to spare Mr. Arthur the torture of receiving this unwanted attention for all his life.

Amanda Schule said...

I agree with the fact that no one should go unpunished, but by protecting the children and getting them away from Ewell, Boo put himself in harm. Ewell then moved on to attacking Boo and then Boo pulled a knife on him. So at the end of it all, Boo was defending himself and the children. He did not just run up to Ewell with the knife, he pulled it on him as a last resort.

Rob Tree said...

fuck you nigger