Langston Hughes, an African-American poet, wrote "Justice" about the unjust way in which African-Americans were treated. The poem reads, "That Justice is a blind goddess / Is a thing to which we black are wise: / Her bandage hides two festering sores / That once perhaps were eyes." Hughes uses...
Langston Hughes, an African-American poet, wrote "Justice" about the unjust way in which African-Americans were treated. The poem reads, "That Justice is a blind goddess / Is a thing to which we black are wise: / Her bandage hides two festering sores / That once perhaps were eyes." Hughes uses the metaphor of justice as a blindfolded goddess to explain the unfairness of the treatment of African-Americans in American society. In his poem, justice is not only blind but doesn't even have eyes, only sores where her eyes used to be. In other words, it's impossible for African-Americans to receive fair treatment in America.
Unlike the narrator of Langston Hughes's poem, Atticus Finch believes in the power of the justice system to provide an example to the rest of society. Though it is very difficult for him to defend Tom Robinson, an African-American man, he does so. When Scout asks him in Chapter 9 of To Kill a Mockingbird why he is defending Tom, Atticus answers: “'For a number of reasons,' said Atticus. 'The main one is, if I didn’t I couldn’t hold up my head in town, I couldn’t represent this county in the legislature, I couldn’t even tell you or Jem not to do something again'" (page 77; page numbers vary according to the edition). In other words, Atticus feels that the justice system must be upheld. Even though he knows he will likely lose his case, he feels it is worthwhile to defend Tom, as every person has the right to a defense in the American criminal justice system. Atticus likely believes that ultimately, justice will be served, as people who are watching him will learn to reaffirm the power of the justice system. By mounting a defense of Tom, he is doing his duty, and he believes that he can't be a respected member of society if he does not. Atticus thinks that while justice is perhaps blindfolded for the moment, justice is not blind. Her eyes are not sores, and she can still see, so the justice system, while flawed, is worth upholding because it is not totally broken. One day, Atticus thinks, justice will remove her blindfold and see again.
The reason that Atticus and the narrator of Hughes's poem perhaps have opposing points of view is that Atticus is a white man who is a lawyer. He has privileges that come from his race and class in a small southern town in the 1930s. The narrator of Hughes's poem is, on the other hand, a black man from around the same time period who has witnessed and perhaps been subject to great discrimination and unfairness in an unjust American society.