Wednesday, January 27, 2016


We will discuss Go Set A Watchman and To Kill A Mockingbird on Wednesday (special day!), February 10. We will distribute Goldfinch  at that meeting. Let us know what you thought of these two books--an old familiar one and a new controversial one!

Warning: Comments may contain spoilers!

1 comment:

  1. From Sue Bowen: After re-reading To Kill A Mockingbird, I still think it is a wonderful book, tightly integrated in its structure and character development. Jem and Scout learn the importance of family while Dill struggles with too little family support and Boo is trapped by too much family control. Scout learns to control her temper and to stop fighting during the months preceding the trial. All three children see the unfairness of the trial and cry at the outcome. The other neighbors suffer losses and hardships which are additional lessons to the children.

    Go Set a Watchman has less integration and is more flawed. I often felt the flashbacks were interesting but did not really move the story forward, such as the funny issue of the war memorial decoration after the school dance. The long chapter with Uncle Jack and Victorian literature drifts on too long and loses most readers. Jean Louise returns home and relives her past in Maycombe but she cannot remain there. She goes to the ice cream parlor which is the site of her former home and is awash in memories. She wants Maycombe to stay as it was but also to change.

    Jean Louise loves Henry but cannot live with a man who supports the ideas of the new “council.” She cannot understand why Maycombe is so important to Henry who was outcast by its residents while he was growing up. She adores her father but must discover he has “clay feet.” She rants at her father, her uncle and the “new South,” but I find the school integration issue seems outdated in light of the recent publication date of the novel. The issue of big government and Federal intervention in the local community is certainly more current and is glossed over during one of Uncle Jack’s long explanations.

    Both Dill and Jem who are so integral to the first novel are quickly removed from the second one probably to focus on Jean Louise and her struggles. The novel might have been interesting if we had these two characters to compare as they come to terms with racial integration.

    As for Atticus, I also struggled to understand his change in attitude. If each of us is our own watchman, where is his compass which was so strong in the first book. The new town council cannot be considered as watchmen, even as it allows free speech by visiting speakers. Did Harper Lee write "Watchman" in reaction to the public's view of Atticus Finch as a saint, especially after the release of the movie?


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