Atticus Finch Paternalism Analysis

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Joseph Crespino argues that Atticus Finch felt the need to take the case and help Tom Robinson who was "naïve" because, of his paternalistic side. (Crespino The Strange Career of Atticus Finch, JSTOR.com) To justify this idea of paternalism he says, " Tom Robinson is sweetly innocent and naïve; Atticus feels a moral responsibility to defend him, as the novel's tide attests, because a black man accused in the Jim Crow South was as helpless as a mockingbird." In chapter ten of To Kill a Mockingbird Atticus says, "… Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” (Lee,)
Marie Failinger, the author of Gentleman as Hero: Atticus Finch and the Lonely Path, makes four points in her article: We
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We consider Atticus a hero partly because he rejected societal views on how African Americans should be treated. Freedman proves this statement false by using textual evidence from the book. In chapter fifteen of To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus is outside of jail with Jem protecting Tom Robinson, and a lynch mob comes prepared to take justice into their own hands. A member of the lynch mob was Walter Cunningham, an acquaintance of Atticus. Jem questions Walter's integrity, and Atticus responds, telling Jem that the man is a good man, he just has his "blind spots." Jem responds to his father with words beyond his age " murder is not a blind spot." Atticus responds to Jem telling him that he'll understand when he gets older. (Lee,) In some ways Atticus tries to justify the lynch mob saying that they are just people, which does not take away the barbaric crimes they as people choose to make. Freedman questions how you can justify a lynch mob, who commit the crime, are they not to be considered what they are, murders. Freedman also recognizes that Atticus biggest flaw is that unlike others he is not ignorant to the hardships of the African Americans, in fact he knows about as well as anyone how dangerous it is to be black. (Freedman, Atticus Finch- Right and Wrong, law.hofstra.edu) He also knows that racism is wrong yet in some cases he allows …show more content…
Lubet, constructs his argument around three key points: the narrator of the story and how the narrator's own biases affect the character of Atticus Finch. The authors intention for how each character was to be perceived. The final key point is analyzing three different possibilities: Tom Robinson was indeed lying, Tom Robinson was telling the truth, and the third, if Atticus cared to know the truth. A few scholars respond to his final key point: two scholars named Dean Burnele Powell and Professor William Simon says even if Tom was lying about raping Mayella Ewell that does not change Atticus or his character. They said, " Atticus succeeds not because he defends innocent, "but because he insists, as must every lawyer, on the freedom to make the arguments within the bounds of law that are for the full ventilation of issues in a criminal case." Professor Randolph Stone believes that in that situation during that period lawyers had to be nothing less of vigilant and aggressive, especially when racial tensions were so

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