Did you ever consider the lead character in Harper Lee's fabulous "To Kill A Mockingbird" to be a feminized male not at all manly in any traditional sense?
Atticus Finch, one of the greatest male figures in modern American literature?
Well, that's what Jesse Kornbluth wrote at Huffington Post on the 50th anniversary of this fabulous book being published.
For those that are fans of this novel like so many Americans, the following quotes from this astonishingly silly piece are guaranteed to offend:
"To Kill a Mockingbird" is a woman's book.
Written by a woman, Harper Lee, but more, written by a woman who dared to see herself as her region's Jane Austen. Told by a six-year-old girl. With a hero who's not, in any traditional sense, manly.
Not in a traditional sense manly?
According to the town sheriff, he's the best marksman in the county. This is said after this "feminized man" protects his family by shooting a mad dog approaching their home.
In another pivotal scene, this "feminized man" stands face to face with the drunken antagonist that's just verbally assaulted him. When he gets back in his car, he comforts his scared son by saying that he shouldn't worry -- the guy's all bluff.
Maybe most importantly, despite the likelihood that he and his family would be publicly condemned for his decision to defend a black man accused of rape, this "feminized man" takes the case.
When questioned by his daughter about his decision to do so, this "feminized man" tells her that if he didn't, not only couldn't he hold his head up in town, but he could never tell her or her brother what to do in the future.
Yet, according to Kornbluth, these are all feminine qualities:
And one more female value, once common in the heroes of Western movies, but less and less common by the time Harper Lee wrote her novel --- a willingness to do the right thing, regardless of the consequences. Readers often forget, but this is the foundation of the character of Atticus Finch: He takes on the legal defense of an African-American, knowing he can't prevail in court. [...]
I'm not one for stereotyping, but how many men do you know who step up to confront unpleasantness and conflict?
Actually, most of the men I respect. If stepping up to confront unpleasantness and conflict is a female trait, then America was built by a lot of "feminized men":
Atticus Finch is --- let's just say it --- a feminized man who appeared a decade before America started hearing about feminism.
Nonsense. Atticus Finch is a paragon of strength and virtue that many American men have looked up to for 50 years...including me!
*****Update: Glenn Reynolds has discovered "A Letter from Harper Lee."
Readers are advised that it has been forty years since I read this book, and I am at this time much more familiar with the fabulous film which I believe to be one of the finest movies ever made. With this in mind, if I have depicted scenes here that were in the film and not the novel, please accept my apology.