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We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our site, show personalized content and targetedanalyze site traffic, and understand where our audiences come from. To learn more or opt-out, read our Cookie Policy. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the best-known books in America.

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It's an inspiring story about standing up to injustice even if doing so is difficult and unpopular; an accessible coming-of-age tale; and a convenient way to teach high school English students about the Jim Crow South. It's also the only novel that its author, Harper Lee, had ever published — until a sudden announcement in February heralded the publication of Go Set a Watchmana new Lee work featuring the Want fuck hardware on harper characters as To Kill a Mockingbird.

A lot of people are suspicious about the discovery of the new manuscript. There are questions about whether Lee actually wanted it to be published, or whether she even wrote it at all — and if so, when. These questions have only become more urgent since the book's release on July 14, due to its "reveal" that Atticus Finch, the anti-racist hero of To Kill a Mockingbird, is a virulent racist in Watchman. So does America now need to exile To Kill a Mockingbird from its summer reading asments?

Or should readers continue to read Mockingbird as if Watchman had never existed? How you think about this, it turns out, depends on who you think is responsible Want fuck hardware on harper creating a novel's meaning — and how comfortable you are with America's complicated racial legacy. Go Set a Watchman is either the sequel to To Kill a Mockingbirda rough draft of it, or something in between — it depends on whom you ask. The book was an instant success when it was published in ; it was quickly made into an iconic movie starring Gregory Peck, and Lee, feeling the pressure to live up to her first book, never published another novel again.

In Februarya statement issued by Lee's publisher — purportedly on her behalf — announced that a manuscript had been "discovered" attached to another draft of Mockingbird. The way the publisher tells it, Hohoff liked Lee's writing. But there's a lot of skepticism surrounding this. The discovery was very sudden: Even Van Dusen hadn't heard about the discovered manuscript until just before it was announced. And after years and years of Lee saying she'd never publish again, it seemed very suspicious that she would have agreed to put out a new novel.

Lee suffered a stroke inand she's currently suffering from dementia. It's not clear that she would be able to give informed consent about the publication of a new novel. The state of Alabama actually launched an elder-abuse investigation into Lee's situation earlier this year. It didn't find evidence of coercion or abuse, but it's impossible to rule them out with absolute certainty. It seems all too plausible that lawyers could take advantage of Lee — especially for the sake of generating more profit for her estate.

After all, the news of Go Set a Watchman 's release was a boon to the publishing industry: The novel would have a ready-made audience in the millions of Americans who read Mockingbird in school it's routinely among the most-ased books in high school English classrooms or at least managed to crib together an understanding from SparkNotes and the Peck movie. And in the BlackLivesMatter era, it was particularly timely to publish a follow-up to Mockingbird, which is remembered mostly as a civil rights classic.

This is the secret to its staying power in classrooms.

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Its portrayal of the Jim Crow South is historically relevant. Its young protagonist gives students someone to relate to as she discovers how unjust her society is; Atticus Finch, the protagonist's father and a lawyer who defends a black man falsely accused of rape, is a morally uplifting portrait of a just man confronting an unjust society. It doesn't hurt that recollections of the book are often refracted through the Peck movie, which focuses on the book's racism plot. Finch loses the trial, but the book makes it clear that what matters is that he stood up for what he believed in.

Some critics suspect that the timing of a new novel from Lee was just too perfect — that Go Set a Watchman isn't actually a draft of To Kill a Mockingbird at all, but an attempted sequel pieced together by others. Adam Gopnikwriting at the New Yorker, makes the best argument in support of this:. So the controversy about what Go Set a Watchman really is isn't just a controversy over its history and how it came to be published. It's a controversy over who gets to decide what makes a book — and whether this book should change the way people understand To Kill a Mockingbird. That's why the book's publication has sparked another controversy.

While some parts of Go Set a Watchman are recognizable from Mockingbird — Quartz has a list of passages that survived the rewriting process pretty much intact — the plot and characters were totally transformed in the editing process that presumably turned one novel into the other.

In particular, reviewers have been horrified, and more than a little betrayed, to learn that the Atticus Finch of Go Set a Watchman is a vocal supporter of segregation. It's ironic that the reception of Go Set a Watchman has been dominated by shock and dismay over the discovery that Atticus Finch is a Want fuck hardware on harper, because the book is literally about Scout — who now goes by her given name, Jean Louise — making the same discovery.

It's important to remember that this book is set in the mids — in the wake of the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education that ruled segregation of public schools was unconstitutional. Jean Louise has been living in New York, and quietly assumed that her family back home is just as anti-segregationist as she is. Instead, she discovers that Atticus and her love interest, Henry Clinton, are both leading figures in Maycomb's Citizens' Council — local groups that sprang up to defend segregation. They're hostile if not downright paranoid toward the Supreme Court and the NAACP, which they worry are trying to incite the local black population.

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And Atticus, for his part, genuinely believes that African Americans are mentally childlike and unable to lead themselves or society. Many reviews of Go Set a Watchman have made a big deal out of the revelation late in the book that at one point in the past Atticus had attended a Klan meeting, but that's eventually explained away. Atticus is portrayed as a virulent racist, but not as a Klan member in any meaningful way.

Go Set a Watchman is a portrait of a particular historical moment when the South knew it was under siege by the forces of integration, and suspected it had already lost, but hadn't yet been forced to accept that defeat. It can be bitterly funny, and also genuinely difficult to read. In one scene, Jean Louise visits her childhood cook Calpurnia and is alarmed to realize that Calpurnia is using her "company manners" — the exaggerated, servile dialect she puts on for white strangers.

Jean Louise is distraught that the woman who raised her now just sees her as "white folk," and asks Calpurnia directly: "Do you hate us? But thematically, Go Set a Watchman is literally about what happens once you realize Atticus Finch isn't the paradigm of civil rights you thought he was. It's the story of a young woman coming to terms with knowing that the father she had revered as a god is merely a man, and that the morals she thought she'd inherited wholesale from him are actually her own.

Jean Louise is an integrationist. Atticus is a legalist. He'll still take a case to represent a black defendant — in this case, one he knows to be guilty. But it's because he knows that he can secure a plea bargain, whereas if the NAACP represents the accused, it'll make a bigger deal out of the case. That's a pretty accurate portrayal of one strain of Southern white liberalism, according to historian Kimberley Johnson of Barnard. According to Johnson, in the pre- Brown South, white liberals were relatively few.

In Go Set a Watchmana character from a working-class background makes exactly this point; Jean Louise, from a solidly middle-class background, totally dismisses it. As a result, many white liberals were upper or middle class — and defined by that status. To these liberals, things like lynching were an embarrassment. They might have agreed about the inherent criminality of black people, but they wanted to uphold the rule of law even more. But it doesn't feel that way. Because if Go Set a Watchman is a novel about disillusionment, does that mean that Atticus's heroism in To Kill a Mockingbird is the illusion?

Some critics argue that Go Set a Watchman introduces a useful complication to our understanding of To Kill a Mockingbirdbecause it points out that good people can believe bad things, and that people can do good things for bad reasons. Alyssa Rosenberg wrote in the Washington Post:.

For one thing, in To Kill a Mockingbird, the adult Scout who narrates the novel reinforces the heroism of her father, as Albert Burneko wrote for Depin :. This is a key to that novel, I think, or have always thought: Jean Louise changed and grew up, and her understanding of Atticus broadened and deepened, but her admiration remained, because he really was a hero.

Burneko is making a literary-theory argument: that the answer to "what is this character really like? Generations of readers have created their own ideas of what Atticus Finch is really like by reading, discussing, watching the Peck movie, etc. And the author can't take that away from them. As Burneko writes :. If Harper Lee is saying this Atticus is a Klan-rallying bigot—her lawyer would like us to believe she is, anyway—she might be wrong!

She literally does not know him as well as you do. She knows him only slightly better than an absentee sperm donor knows the in-vitro-fertilized child raised by someone else. But while "the reader knows best" is one answer to the question of "what is Atticus really like? Another answer would be to take the publisher at its word and Want fuck hardware on harper that Watchman is in large part an early draft of Mockingbird — which the Quartz article showing identical paragraphs seems to bear out — and ask what changed.

Because the two versions of Atticus Finch aren't really the same person. Lee has said that Atticus was based on her own father, a lawyer, so it's easy to assume that Atticus's morals must have been drawn from real life. But reading Go Set a Watchman makes it clear that the plot and characters of To Kill a Mockingbird weren't just drawn from life — they emerged during the editing process.

Go Set a Watchman isn't just set several years after To Kill a Mockingbird — it actually portrays a different reality. This Alabama courthouse performs scenes from To Kill a Mockingbird for visitors. This is about to get awkward. Want fuck hardware on harper a flashback, Jean Louise remembers a case that readers recognize as the central trial in To Kill a Mockingbird : that of a black man with only one usable arm, charged with raping a white girl.

But here's how the case is described in Go Set a Watchman emphasis added :. Atticus took his career in his hands, made good use of a careless indictment, took his stand before a jury, and accomplished what was never before or afterwards accomplished in Maycomb County: he won an acquittal for a colored boy on a rape charge. This isn't a minor change.

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In To Kill a Mockingbird, the outcome of the trial is proof that the South is implacably racist — but that standing up for what's right is its own reward, and that it's something worth doing. In Go Set a Watchman, a sufficiently talented lawyer can actually persuade a white jury to acquit an innocent black defendant.

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Go Set a Watchman: Why Harper Lee's new book is so controversial