In what ways, if any, does Atticus Finch, in To Kill a Mockingbird, reinforce the notion of white superiority and how do his actions impact the community?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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There are an abundance of scholarly articles on Atticus Finch, some questioning his status as a role model for attorneys, but it is difficult to argue that he reinforces the notion of white superiority except for one point not made explicit by Lee. Finch, it could be argued, represents enlightened, liberal whites whose courage and bravery helped win some measure of fair treatment for blacks in his community. While Finch comments several times on the theme of racial equality, it could be argued, in light of what we now know about the grassroots nature of the civil rights movement, that this view of white benefactors is fundamentally paternalistic. By valorizing the courage of Finch, Lee misses the real courage of blacks. Again, this is not a point made by many literary critics, and is perhaps a stretch, but it seems to me to be the only way to attack the question.


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