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Section C: Debate differences


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Section C: Debate differences

  1. 1. 1Debate/ suggest why they are communicated in the same or different ways – this links to ideaspresented through the use of themesRacism/ Racial Intolerance/ Racial Inequality (Bigotry)The key way that the theme of bigotry come across through both of the films is through the use ofthe lower class ‘redneck’ characters; Billy Ray Cobb, Freddie Lee Cobb, and Pete Willard the keyantagonists in ATTK and Bob Ewell and Mayella Ewell the key antagonists in TKAM.These characters and their actions encapsulate the racist ideology that has been historicallyinstitutionalised in the deep south of America. The fact that the two films are 30 years apart and thetimes that they were set in even further shows unfortunately that there are still racist attitudes inthe deep south of America. This theme of bigotry is communicated in the same way due to the filmhaving the same settings, the neighbouring states of Mississippi and Alabama.Other ways the theme of racism can be discussed in ATTK is in conjunction with the theme of Justiceand Law and in reference to the case staying in Canton and not being able to be moved due to therebeing more of a chance of a guilty verdict with an all white jury. This again links in with the history ofthe Deep South and institutionalised racism. So although Tom Robinson in TKKM also was not judgedby a jury of his peers this was of the norm for the time and clearly something people were used todue to the segregation being apparent in the courthouse. The white people sat downstairs and theblacks upstairs. Clearly segregation in ATTK was an outdated law and the courthouse was notsegregated, but racist attitudes were still exemplified through the all white jury.The debate should be for this particular theme should be how things have changed between thetime period that the films were set, but unfortunately I feel that the message/idea that the use ofthis theme delivers is that the south is still stuck in the past and has a long way to go. Yes we couldtake note of the fact that in ATTK we have a black sherriff – Ozzie Walls but this positive point fallsshort due to the fact that his deputy; Hastings is part of the KKK.In both films race is the defining factor in the jury’s decision, which again confirms that the racistideology of the places the films were set in. The jury find Tom guilty simply because he is a blackBack this up with evidence from the film – what do these characters do thatshow that they’re bigots?Remember ATTK is very good at using the film language. Especially mise-en-scene to communicate this themeBigotryThe attitude, state of mind, or behaviour characteristic of a bigot; intoleranceBigotsOne who is strongly partial to ones own group, religion, race, or politics and isintolerant of those who differ.
  2. 2. 2man and his accuser is white.The evidence is so powerfully in his favour, but race is clearly the singledefining factor in the jurys decision. Carl Lee Hailey is found not guilty 1. Because Jake asks the juryto imagine the Tonya was white (take evidence from the summation) and 2. He appealed to thefathers in the jury. The unfortunate message that comes across here is that Atticus was ahead of histime in the way that he thought about and believed in the justice system (evidence can be takenfrom his summation). Whereas Jake had to stoop low and still use the race card to get Carl Lee off -by asking the jurors to imagine a white girl being raped, he simultaneously racialises and deracialisesTonya: he reminds the jury (and the audience) that she is African American and that the rape wasracist, but he also insists that the violation of a man’s child goes beyond race and racism, is a moralcrime (against the father as much as against the daughter) that calls for the rapists death (at thehands of the father.Both Jake and Carl Lee knew it was the only way, in addition, whereas Atticus was chosen by thejudge to defend Tom due to his racial impartially and high moral standard. Carl Lee strategicallysought out Jake’s services because he was white and a father and he knew that he that even with allof Jake’s bravado that Jake would get the jury to see Carl perspective(“You got a daughter, Jake.What would you do?”). Again all this shows is that through the use of theme of racism the south stillhas a long way to go.Justice and the LawIn both films Justice is flawed and the Law seen to be corrupt, in both films to a certain extent seekto justify the actions of those who go against the law, or encourage the audience to question theirown ethics in identifying with the use of the theme of justice. There are other themes that crosswith this theme and possibly many things that I mention which are listed in the individual ‘themenotes’ for each film – but I’m going to focus on ALL of them here.The main thing that both films do to encourage the audience to ask if justice was really served? CarlLee gets acquitted for the murder of two men and Boo Radley was never arrested for the murder ofBob Ewell. ATTK seeks to justify Carl Lee actions through the use of mise-en-scene (please refer theclass notes and hand-outs for evidence of this) the mise-en-scene, cinematography and soundtrackall work together to confirm Carl Lee’s MORAL COURAGE/BRAVERY and the use the soundtrackjustifies his actions as an act of God. The use of PERSPECTIVE gets the audience to empathise withhis situation as father and other characters are employed within the narrative to assist with this.Jake and his role as a father and what he says in his summation and Deputy Duane Looney shows hissupport from the perspective of a father by shouting out in court ‘I hold no ill will towards the manhe did what I would’ve done… I don’t blame him for what he did; those boys raped his little girl… Igot a little, anybody rapes her he’s a dead dog, I’ll blow him away just like Carl Lee Hailey did… He’s ahero you turn him loose, YOU TURN HIM LOOSE! TURN HIM LOOSE!’He shows his support eventhough Carl Lee inadvertently shot off his leg leaving unable to complete his duties as police officer.Ensure that you can back up any points made above with textualevidence/ referencing from the films
  3. 3. 3Ironically when Carl Lee leaves the courthouse one shot in particular stands out, as it frames himholding his daughter with the US flag flying full mast in the background. That one shot seems to be ametaphor for the American justice system and seems to say that justice was served – but personallyit still leaves me questioning.In TKAM Sheriff Heck Tate knows that Boo killed Bob Ewell but fabricates a story and says that “BobEwell fell on his knife, he killed himself, there’s a black men dead for no reason, now the manresponsible for it is dead, let the dead bury the dead this time Mr Finch…” He goes on to explain thatif the town find out that BooRadley killed Bob Ewell they’ll see it as a blessing and drag Boo in to thelimelight which would do Boo any good. Scout says that Mr Tate is right and that it would be likeshooting a mockingbird.So Boo is never brought to justice because the sheriff feels that Bob Ewell got his comeuppance adjustice was served for Tom Robinson – he in affect corrupts the law but ‘we’ the audience areencouraged to see this as right through the use of PERSPECTIVE.Both films show that people seek their own kind of justice and use perspective to encourage theaudience to see the actions as right.I’m making a point of tell you that up to here I have written over 1,000 words, why am I telling youthis? Because these are just notes so in an exam essay realistically you only have time to writeabout 2 themes IF DONE IN DETAIL AND DONE PROPERLY! And as you can see you can easilyreference other themes along the way Perspective (Being in someone else’s shoes)In TKAM Atticus says to Scout (his daughter) “You never really understand a person until you considerthings from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”Both films seekto do this through the use of the characters and encouraging the audience to emphasise with them.In addition ATTK also uses film language to do this in the case of Tonya’s rape – please see ‘themenotes’ on films for more you also have great hand outs for this theme! The only thing I would say isthat both film seem to use the children as a starting point for the theme of perspective – and achild’s notion of innocence is put into question.In ATTK we are first faced with being in someone else’s shoes during the rape of Tonya. The rapescene is depicted both through straight cuts and through a subjective camera showing the event asthey are lived by the black girl... Thus, the rape scene is graphically staged so that the audience isvisually disgusted by the physical presence of the rednecks on the screen after the rape. Her rape isthe catylst for the rest of the film’s her rape and the way that it was filmed is key to her father’saqquital, as ot is recited again in Jake’s summation.TKAM opens with childlike images, a child humming and an older Scout doing a retrospectivevoiceover. Introducing the audience to her story, a story seen through the eyes of am innocent child,we follow Scout and her relationship with her father –Atticus – as she is encouraged by him to seethings from other people’s perspectives – CONSIDER WHAT SHE SEE AND LEARNS.
  4. 4. 4Moral Courage/ BraveryI think that you have enough notes on this already – if I’m wrong then email me!Ethics (knowing right from wrong)Again this one is straight forward more to say about it in ATTK than TKAM, and links into JUSTICE andTHE LAW. See ‘theme notes’ for more. There are no theme notes for this on the TKAM sheetbecause it should be obvious what they are!For the most part both films communicate the themes in similar ways to put across much the samemessages and ideas.