LITERATURE: Go Set A Watchman

The much anticipated release of Harper Lee’s new (old) novel has been met with disappointment and, of course, outrage due to her in-depth revelation of Atticus Finch as a racist. Evidently this wonderful man’s motive in defending his client in To Kill A Mockingbird was not one of equality for a race, but injustice dealt to his client alone.

While I haven’t read Go Set A Watchman yet, it’s obvious to me that 1) Atticus is a fictional character that (God bless Roland Barthes) readers have indeed written in their own minds and over whom they felt they had control and valid beliefs, and 2) some readers of 2015 are an intolerant bunch when it comes to certain human rights and opinions to the extent of wanting to change history.

My thought right now is, 1) grow up, nobody’s perfect (as are you?) so Harper Lee wrote what she wanted the character to be, and 2) what on earth would the KKK-affiliated Atticus Finch of 1930 think of the 2015 Pro-Choice people? I’m guessing he’d be as horrified and disgusted at the legalization of “killing babies” as we are at the existence of racism.

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