Friday, February 8, 2008

Atticus: Hero or Hypocrite?

Only a fictional character of the calibur of Atticus Finch could launch such controversial debates within the pages of law journals. Now that you have read both sides, determine whether you agree with Barge or with Freedman and argue the issue with your classmates on this blog. Is Atticus really a role model, or should he be labeled a hypocrite? Use concrete details from the essays and the text to support your position. This is a chance for you to work through your ideas as a preliminary step to next week's essay.

You may attack the critics but remember to exercise courtesy with your peers!

I really hope to see you all very soon!!!!!!

17 comments:

Erica Guerin said...

I agree with Barge that Freedman is wrong about Atticus. Atticus is not perfect but should be looked up to as a role model. A role model is not always perfect but always trys to be. Atticus never gives up and he shows this in the novel, like Barson said when he puts his butt on the line to defend Tom Robinson who is clearly an innocent black man, wrongly accused of rape.

ambika said...

I also agree with R. Mason Barge's argument. Freedman writes, "Atticus needed to voluntarily establish the right of black citizens of Maycomb." I strongly disagree with this comment. Atticus Finch is an admirable man because he defends Tom Robinson, even though he knows that it will be very difficult to change people's views. He didn't NEED to do anything. Despite people's views, Atticus stands up for what he believes in. He manages to change the some people's opinions, which in it of itself, is a huge achievement considering the circumstances. I support R. Mason Barge when he writes, "To say that Atticus Finch is an improper ethical role model for attorneys is like saying that Mother Teresa is an improper ethical role model." During the 1930s, no one could have ended racism in one day. It's the small steps that people take, that eventually make a huge impact. In my opinion, Atticus is a role model because he fights for what he believes in and tries to make positive changes in society.

allison k said...

I agree with Erica. Atticus never says that he will try to end the racism and sexism in Maycomb, so he can't be held responsible for not doing this. Atticus does show the town that Tom Robinson was innocent, although he still lost the case. I also agree with Barge when he explains that Freedman is a hypocrite and says, "Mr. Freedman, do you realize that even today, and only minutes from your front door, there are people starving to death?.... I know you don't know about this, or you would be putting your butt on the line for these people instead of criticizing Atticus Finch, who did put his butt on the line for an innocent black man."

Miss Arney said...

Ladies, may I play devil's advocate? Identify one time in which Atticus had Calpurnia and her family over for dinner throughout the course of the novel. Anyone care to rip my argument apart? Good! Go for it!

Chris Spad said...

I agree with Ambika because Atticus is definetly an admirable man in defending a black man in a racist 1930's Alabama town. I also believe that Atticus has his own reasons for not inviting Calpurnia to stay over for dinner. After analyzing his character, I think that Atticus it is safe to consider him as being the epitome of a gentlemen and I think he doesn't invite Calpurnia and her family over for dinner because he is worried about her safety. Although we don't know what time she leaves the Finch's home exactly, it is possible to assume that Atticus does not want her going home when it is late and dark out with people like Bob Ewell walking around drunk and ready to harm a black woman. Atticus in a way is displaying his morals and care for Calpurnia in not inviting her to dinner.

francesca said...

I like what Barge said about Freedman trying to change Atticus by 1990s standards because back when this story takes place,in the 1930s, values were different and people did not know of anything better than the stereotypes and the racism that were present. They didn't have anything to look back on showing them how bad it was, like we have today.

kerry said...

If Aticus invited Calpurnia over for dinner then that would be risking her life. She could be hurt or killed for agreeing to have dinner with a white man. By having dinner with the Finches she would just be digging herself a hole.

ambika said...

If Atticus had invited Calpurnia over for dinner, it would cause more controvercy. Many people already object to Atticus being associated with black people like Calpurnia and Tom Robinson.

Kerry said...

I agree with what Fran said that the 1930's had differet values back then than we do now. If Atticus asked Calpurnia to dinner Calpurnia would say no because of the values and stereotypes of Maycomb county. Also, Atticus would never have asked because of those values.

Maureen said...

Erica is correct when she says Freeman was wrong about Atticus. Atticus, we all know isn't perfect. We don't expect him to be, nobody is. Just because he does not act as jesus would does not make him a hypocrite. A Hypocrite is someone who tells someone not to do something but that person does it. Atticus yes never did do anything to help change the towns rasist opinons other than defend Tom Robisnon in the trial but the only thing that would make him a hypocrite is if he was rasist himself because he told others not to be. Atticus tryed his hardest to set a black man free and didn't give up even though he knew it was just black vs. white. He truely was a hero for giving it his all and never losing faith in Tom Robinson.

Kimberly said...

I agree with the general opinion. Atticus should be regarded as a hero for what he does, not what he doesnt do. To say that Atticus isn't perfect doesnt make Freedman's argument any stronger. Nobody's perfect, and if Atticus was portrayed as perfect than he would be a false role model. Saying that Atticus never invited Calpurnia over for dinner doesn't make Freedman's argument any stronger either. Atticus knows the consequences of a black woman dining with a white family. He doesn't disclude her out of selfishness- he does it out of safety. Not for his safety, but for Calpurnias. It would be considered a crime by her to eat there, not Atticus. This is another circumstance where Atticus' selflisness may be confused for ego. He doesn't invite Calpurnia for HER protection, again demonstrating selflisness- a trait of a hero.

Kimberly said...

selfLESSness*

Vickie said...

I agree with the general argument also. Although Atticus didn't fight to change all racism and sexism, he still did his job. He was appointed the case of Tom Robinson and accepted even if other white lawyers wouldn't. He never gave up even though he was pretty sure he wouldn't win. As Allison said, Freedman is a hypocrite for not doing anything to fix the world but he is criticizing Atticus for it.

Maureen said...

Vickie is right that Atticus never gave up even though he was pretty sure starting out that he wasn't going to win. He had true courage which was what Mrs. Dubose has. She was a hero because she fighted her way through life even though she knew she was doomed before she began. Atticus has that courage also.
I also agree with Kim. Her argument is ver strong. All the points Freeman had are all points that show Atticus isn't perfect but they do not show how he should be portrayed as a hypocrite. That word should not be associated with him in any way. Atticus never told someone not to do something and then did it. He only did things to help other people. So what if he will not be the next saint? If he was he would not be a role model because nobody's perfect.

shane said...

Even though Atticus never invites Calpurnia he still takes care of her. For instance one night Calpurnia stays over the Finch's house, Atticus refuses Aunt Alexandra's demands to get rid of Calpurnia, also doesnt Calpurnia eat dinner when Walter Cunningham is over?

Erica Guerin said...

No Shane she was giving them their dinner and if they were Walter would have told his father and then then a mob would probly have been after her or Atticus. She was cooking in the kitchen that is why she calls Scout into the kitchen

Chris Spad said...

Are we comparing and conrtasting or discussing why the director took certain scenes and ideas out? Or are we comparing and contrasting in the bodies and discussing why the director took scenes and ideas out in the conclusion?