By Tqwana B.
Sorry, this isn’t a review. I’m not even sure anymore if I’ll read Go Set A Watchman …
When Harper Collins announced there would be a ‘sequel’ to To Kill a Mockingbird, I nearly died with excitement. This is history being made and I’m here for it. I even overlooked the controversy surrounding the acquisition of this supposed lost novel. I just wanted more of The Finches.
And then you find out that Atticus is a racist, associated with the KKK and preferring that we Negroes not be a part of their lives.
I’ve been trying to reconcile this with the honorable Atticus Finch that stood up for justice, at the risk of his family, at the risk of everything in TKaM. And it just makes no sense. I do realize that this isn’t a sequel really. That this is what TKaM started out as. And thank God for editors. But… Maybe we put him on too high a pedestal? Maybe we romanticized him too much? How could we have all been so naive?
What really bothers me is all the people saying this makes it more nuanced and compelling fiction. Not buying it. What is so compelling about a white man of reasonable influence, in small-town Alabama of the 1930s being a racist? That’s par for the course if you ask me. The expectation. What made Atticus so special is that he defied what you expected of him, which is to be a raving, angry bigot. He represented principles and integrity and how both can still lose in the face of such overwhelming hate, but you, we, can remain honorable. We don’t have to give in to the hate.
And now that image is forever tarnished.