‘Go Set A Watchman’ Is A Revelation On Race, Not A Disappointment
“All this outcry reveals how desperately many white readers have needed Atticus Finch — a fictional character — to be real. They idolized Finch, a white lawyer who pushes back on several pillars of white society in his struggle to secure justice for a black man. Of course, Finch’s defense of Tom Robinson — a black man accused of raping a young white woman in small-town Alabama in the 1930s — was an attempt to address a single injustice, not to topple Jim Crow. Yet in the half-century since Mockingbird was first published, society has given this character an outsize victory, holding Finch forth as a counterweight to very real nemeses like Alabama Gov. George Wallace, and Finch’s defense of Tom Robinson as a balm for all black people’s problems.”
This is one of the best reviews I’ve seen. Those who reject Go Set a Watchman out of hand, seem to feel Atticus has been knocked off the pedestal where many needed him to be and/or that Harper Lee should be ashamed of herself for tarnishing the image of a beloved fictional character.
I liked the novel and think it makes the Maycomb “canon” even stronger; Smoky sees the books as very different and evidence of an author’s growth; Julianna wants to remember the Atticus she always knew.
My review is here: Review: ‘Go Set a Watchman,’ by Harper Lee
Smoky Zeidel’s review is here: Why The Critics Were Wrong About ‘Go Set A Watchman’
Julianna Baggott’s viewpoint is here: Resisting the mystery of “Go Set a Watchman”: Why I’m not reading Harper Lee’s “new” novel