Sample English Paper on Gone Baby Gone

Sample English Paper on Gone Baby Gone

People base their decisions on many factors including their legal obligations and the morality of their actions. Laws set by the society to govern people’s behavior may leave a person in a dilemma when the rules appear to be in conflict with the moral perceptions of the individual. Gone Baby Gone presents the audience with such a dilemma. After a long investigation into the whereabouts of a kidnapped girl, detectives Patrick and …  discover that the abduction of Amanda involved law enforcement officers. Amanda’s uncle had taken her from her mother and given her to Doyle so that Amanda would get a better upbringing. The abduction was meant to save Amanda from her mother who is a drug addict.  At the end of the film, Patrick decided to return Amanda back to her mother; a drunk who does not care about Amanda. It is here that the concepts of morality and laws intertwine leaving the audience to define what is wrong or right. Patrick’s action is morally right because children belong to their families.

According to Kant’s categorical imperative hypothesis, the first premise claims that a person’s actions can be considered as morally right if his conduct would, without any condition, be right for any person in a similar situation (Abbott 121). It was Patrick’s duty to fulfill his promise to bring back Amanda back to her mother. On the other hand, Captain Doyle was not justified to kidnap Amanda even though he meant to give her a better life (Dargis 1). Patrick ensured justice prevailed by not judging Amanda’s mother parenting skills. It was not in his place to decide what was right or wrong for Amanda. As an investigator, Patrick’s legal obligation was to enforce the law by turning in Amanda and reporting Doyle and those who were involved in the kidnapping.

The second premise, according to Kant’s categorical imperative, is that a person’s conduct is right if they treat others as ends in themselves and not as a means to an end (Abbott 164). If Patrick could have listened to Doyle and left Amanda in the home he found her, then he would be treating her as a means to an end. The detective had no right to make such a decision with potential future consequences on Amanda’s life. Therefore, taking Amanda back to her mother, Patrick treated Amanda as an end. The decision made by Patrick was morally right because it was not in his place to judge Amanda’s mother as fit or unfit to take care of the daughter, rather, he left it to the law to make this crucial decision. The difficulty of this decision becomes more apparent when Patrick visits Amanda’s mother. Hellen, is preparing for a date even though she does not have someone to the newly-returned Amanda. Patrick also finds out that Hellen did not know the name of her daughter dolls.

In conclusion, Patrick’s decision to take Amanda back home to the mother is morally right. Hypothetically, for Kant’s imperatives to apply in Patrick’s decision, he had to attain certain crucial ends that can be justified by everyone as an end. He also did not to violate his perfect duty as a detective. Therefore, a person’s acts can be considered to be morally right when they abide by a universal law that would govern everyone who are in a similar situation.


Works Cited

Abbott, Thomas. Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals: Immanuel Kant. The University of Adelaide, 2014. Accessed 17 June 2017

Dargis, Manohla. “Human Frailty and Pain on Boston’s Mean Streets.” The New York Times. Accessed 19 Oct, 2007

Gone Baby Gone. Directed by Ben Affleck, performance by Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, and Morgan Freeman, 2007.

Immanuel, Kant. Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals. Translated by Thomas Abbott, U of Adelaide, 2014, Accessed 17 June 2017.