Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Fictional Father to Admire: Atticus Finch

To contribute to the Dad's in Media blog-a-thon I present who I think is the most amazing literary and screen Father I could possibly think of...Atticus Finch.

Atticus Finch is the amazing hero in Harper Lee's classic novel To Kill A Mockingbird . This character alive in Lee's pages, came even more to life in Gregory Peck's 1962 Academy Award winning performance.

Most Father's in film who have a heroic role, usually are also riddled with personal demons or are fake and down right annoying.

Yet, Atticus Finch is none of these things...Atticus' flaws are all those "positive" flaws that people say are their weaknesses in an interview setting "I'm too caring, too just, too ethical."

While Atticus is a fictional politician from fictional Maycome, Alabama, he's also very real in my heart and mind. As a widower who's wife died of a heart attack, you know that he loved his wife, and you have no doubt he loves his two kids Jem and (Jean Louise) Scout.

Atticus treats everyone with such great respect, whether it's the other town's folk, the people they discriminate, his maid, his children, and everyone in between.

As a lawyer who takes on the case for Tom Robinson, a black man who is accused of raping a White woman in the 1930s the towns folk are so hateful towards Atticus and his family. Yet at the same time, there is no better example of a ethical person who takes a stand, yet in such a peaceable way. Atticus is led by both his heart and his mind, in such perfect balance.

One of the things that is important to me as a Father is that I would teach our soon-to-be-born daughter to develop principals and values by which she can make decisions in life based upon. I feel like it is important to live out my own life in such a way as well. I know our daughter will be watching me and my wife, our interactions with one another, within our family, and in our world, to develop her own outlook and perspective. If only I could do that in a way such as Atticus Finch.

And while Atticus is ethical, judicial, and courageous, I also respect him as a Father because he also seems to strive to protect the innocence of his two children. Although he cannot completely shield them from the Tom Robinson trial, he does try to protect them from over exposure to the thoughts and philosophies of the world around them and instead seems to want nothing more than his kids be children who are not ignorant of the world, but who still have the opportunity to grow up on their own. It's not about forcing behavior, he doesn't try to shape Scout into playing with dolls and having tea parties, but instead doesn't want her to grow up quicker than she has to. Finch's efforts to keep Jem and Scout from seeing the Tom Robinson court case is an example of this (even though the kids do see it).

I also think Finch's advise, perspective, and values are so wise and relevant to his children's development, and I only wish that I too might pass on such palatable truth.

With that I present famous Atticus Finch lines:

  • "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."
  • "The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."
  • "Courage is not a man with a gun in his hand. It's knowing you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do."
  • "When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness sake. But don't make a production of it. Children are children, but they can spot an evasion faster than adults, and evasion simply muddles 'em."
  • "Bad language is a stage all children go through, and it dies with time when they learn they're not attracting attention with it."
  • "Best way to clear the air is to have it all out in the open."

4 comments:

Jose said...

Every time I watch this movie I have the urge to spend as much time as I can with my dad.
I guess anything that does this, must have some real magic in it.

crackers and cheese said...

AFI, in the list of 100 top screen heroes, lists Atticus Finch as number 1! I love that the number one hero on screen isn't a gunslinger or soldier or even a doctor or firefighter. It's a man who is a hero because he stands up for justice and peace, and as a father, he teaches these values to his children.

Fox said...

"Bad language is a stage all children go through, and it dies with time when they learn they're not attracting attention with it."

That is the most thought provoking quote, to me. It's so relevant today.

And just because we use curse words so much, but because the quality of speaking has gone down. (I don't exclude myself from that problem...). Simply, the problem seems to be that poor language doesn't distract like it used too.

Scott said...

Oh great choice! I love this movie and the book as well.

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