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Monday, August 29, 2016

To Kill A Mockingbird

I watched it again last night, and though I had some gnawing sense that the version I had was missing some scenes--Doesn't Cal take the kids to her church?--it still shakes with great moral clarity as a film.

Atticus is still the center of the story for me, though of course the innocence of children confronted with ugly human compromise with evil is a major theme. I have half-jokingly said before that I may be the only person whose hero is a fictional character. It remains true, in this case.

Though he becomes a victim of the violence against him and his own despair, Tom Robinson is a hero, also. It was absolutely right to feel sorry for Mayella Ewell, even if it became dangerous for Tom to act upon it. Recognizing the danger only accentuates the virtue.

Calpurnia showed solidarity as well, teaching the Finch children virtue, and showing them love, even if they will be the beneficiaries of a society that surely hasn't dealt fairly with her.

And I never before noticed the depth of Helen Robinson's grief, when Atticus comes to tell her that Tom had been killed. I was deeply moved; I felt it, perhaps as I never had before. How many real-life Helens do we have today? Too many. Far too many.

I would certainly recommend the film if you haven't seen it, and better yet, the book. There was a documentary attached, and a black lawyer commenting on Atticus said, "When you are peerless--when you really are--everyone is your peer." May that holy paradox be true of all of us, my friends.

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