Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

Let's start with: there will be spoilers.

I had no idea how to write this review. I have been reading other reviews and hearing other opinions and I know how upset people are over this book. Interestingly enough, this was the first book written. To Kill A Mockingbird came second to give the characters a start. Go Set A Watchman finishes out the Finch family.

So people are upset. I was too! I stopped reading for a bit because Atticus being racist killed me. Scout's vocal outbursts and the vitriol she shouted at Atticus killed me. What is wrong with all the characters I loved??

To Kill A Mockingbird is a book I re-read about every 5 years. And I probably still will. Because, in actuality, Atticus didn't change.

Hear me out.

Keep in mind when both of these books are set. GSAW is in the heat of the Civil Rights movement. By 2015 standards, how the characters react is horrible and sad and despicable. But, back then, I think a lot of people were trying to figure out what was happening.

Now, we have legalized gay marriage and that is a HUGE step forward. But, we still have folks who grew up believing this is wrong. Some people still believe women shouldn't make the same pay as a man for the same job. We'll never stop fighting for equality. Sheesh.

Anyways, yes, Atticus is fully against black people joining the white race in... anything. But Atticus never wavered in defending a black person. He is staunchly standing by his principles of justice. I can't hate him anymore than I can hate someone in my family doing the same. Do I think it's wrong? YES. Humans are humans and we should ALL be equal. What I saw in GSAW though was Atticus breaking the cycle.

How?

Look at how he raised Jem and Scout. Since Jem has passed, we only have Scout to look at as an example. She is color blind. People are people to her. Atticus did not raise her with his beliefs. He raised her to find her own. He raised her to be her own thinker, her own person. She grew into a defiant, stubborn, strong woman. Do I like how she handled Atticus and Hank? NO. I do think compassion is a nice thing to show when you are at a disagreement with another.

One of the things I talked about with my mom was how hard it is to break the cycle of family beliefs. I don't believe what my mom or dad think. I found my own path and I sometimes paid for that.I gave my parents heartache when I went against what they believe....but it worked out. Atticus broke his cycle, knowingly or not, by letting his children make up their own minds. Despite everything Scout said to his face, his response was "I love you".

Atticus is not a bad man. Scout is not a bad woman. I still love them both.


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