A moral dilemma entails a choice between two highly conflicting values, where the decision made may result in guilt and remorse. As responders we are able to assess our own values in regards to the character’s actions. These characteristics are present in the texts Montana 1948 by Larry Watson 1993, The Returning by Daniel De Paola 1964 and Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby 2004. I personally have been influenced to assess my own values towards family ties, justice and the balance between right and wrong.
When faced with a moral dilemma, avoidance and denial often result in greater consequences. In Montana 1948 the sheriff Wes has conflicting values of family loyalty and justice leading to an immense moral dilemma whether to convict his own brother even though this may have an adverse effect on familial ties. Wes instead resorts to denial of the situation.
This denial is highlighted shortly after Franks exploitation of Indian women was brought to light by Gail. Wes attempts to refuse Marie’s accusations. “For gods sake, you know how she (Marie) likes to make up stories.” Despite knowing his brothers capability to commit such actions his aggressive tone shows his resistance to Gail’s argument, instinctively protecting his value of family over the law and also his loyalty to Marie. After coming to terms with the facts of Franks perversity Wes attempts to solve the problem, although half heartedly, by confronting Frank. “I think the problems been taken care of. Frank said he’ll cut it out,” In this context the colloquial language ‘cut it out’, referring to the molestation and raping of women, undermining the situation, reducing its severity and allowing Wes to not only justify his own avoidance but to pacify Gail. The relevant consequence to his lack of action is Frank’s murder of Marie the following day, in an attempt to dispose of evidence against him, a much graver fate than if Wes had convicted Frank initially.
Denial of a moral dilemma is also...
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