We covered a remarkably wide range of topics during a lovely dinner with Amina Chaudhri and Lourdes Torres at Alan and Suzanne Saposnik’s home last Saturday night.
The work needs little introduction and has been both thoroughly discussed and widely read. In addition to talking about Truman Capote’s perpetual coyness about the role he played in the book’s creation, we also agreed that Mockingbird is one of the few films that approach, or even do, match the book’s quality.
Again, I know many of you have seen Gregory Peck’s shooting of the rabid dog, much to the surprise of his children, his closing statement to try in vain to save accused rapist Tom Robinson, and Boo Radley’s saving of Scout from harm.
People the country and world over, including President Obama, have quoted Atticus Finch’s injunction to not judge a man until you have had a chance to walk a mile in his shoes.
Finch is one of a long line of sometimes saintly white protagonists in books and on the screen-enter A Time to Kill, Dangerous Minds, Finding Forrester, Glory and Freedom Writers, to name just a few-who work with, and ultimately help save, people of color.
This theme is not limited to white people and others of different races in the United States. In a different way, Schindler’s List tells the story of the coming to conscience and then subversive action of a member of the dominant group through the witnessing of suffering and a close relationship with an articulate member of the oppressed group (In Schindler’s List, Ben Kingsley plays Stern.).
What do you think? Is Mockingbird a classic and/or an example of racial paternalism? Will any Chicagoans attend the Steppenwolf performance?
Inquiring minds want to know.