Friday, June 27, 2008

Where have you gone, Atticus Finch?


Yesterday, I wrote this about the courtroom scenes in Harry Potter:

Which brings me to the most interesting use of law in fiction: Rowling uses the courtroom to demonstrate moral principles, and how the society at large embraces or rejects core values like human rights and due process.

No book that I can think of demonstrates this better than To Kill a Mockingbird, and this is, in part, what has made this book such an enduring classic.

Many people love it because of the character of Atticus Finch, but if you think about it, his bravery is in stark contrast between the way the society handles the law: first, the fact that the system is broken enough that an innocent man can be brought up on false charges and railroaded into a trial, and second, that a community is so broken they can ignore completely the tenets of its own law.

Note: Sorry, this post was scheduled for last Friday, but it looks like I have to fool with the peculiarities of blogger's post-scheduling functions a bit more to get it right.

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