Go Set A Watchman
A NovelLarge Print - 2015
From Harper Lee comes a landmark new novel set two decades after her beloved Pulitzer Prize--winning masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird.
Maycomb, Alabama. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch--"Scout"--returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise's homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town, and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past--a journey that can only be guided by one's own conscience.
Written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman imparts a fuller, richer understanding and appreciation of Harper Lee. Here is an unforgettable novel of wisdom, humanity, passion, humor, and effortless precision--a profoundly affecting work of art that is both wonderfully evocative of another era and relevant to our own times. It not only confirms the enduring brilliance of To Kill a Mockingbird, but also serves as its essential companion, adding depth, context, and new meaning to an American classic.
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"I guess it's like an airplane: they're the drag and we're the thrust, together we make the thing fly. Too much of us and we're nose heavy, too much of them and we're tail heavy - it's a matter of balance. I can't beat him, I can't join him"
"... the time your friends need you is when they're wrong, Jean Louise. They don't need you when they're right."
"Prejudice, a dirty word, and faith, a clean one, have something in common: they both begin where reason ends."
Jean Louise interrupted: "Hester, let me ask you someting, I've home since Saturday now and since Saturday I've heard a great deal of talk about mongrelizin' the race, and it's led me to wonder if that's not rather an unfortunate phrase, and if probably it should be discarded from Southern jargon these days. It takes two races to mongrelize a race - if that's the right word - and when we white people holler about mongrelizin' isn't that
something of a reflection on ourselves as a race?
Henry checked her: “Look, honey. Have you ever considered that men, especially men, must conform to certain demands of the community they live in simply so they can be of service to it? “Maycomb County’s home to me, honey. It’s the best place I know to live in. I’ve built up a good record here from the time I was a kid. Maycomb knows me, and I know Maycomb. Maycomb trusts me, and I trust Maycomb. My bread and butter comes from this town, and Maycomb’s given me a good living. “But Maycomb asks certain things in return. It asks you to lead a reasonably clean life, it asks that you join the Kiwanis Club, to go to church on Sunday, it asks you to conform to its ways—”
Uncle Jack on civil war:
“What was it that made the ragtag little Confederate Army the last of its kind? What made it so weak, but so powerful it worked miracles?” “Ah—Robert E. Lee?” “Good God, girl!” shouted her uncle. “It was an army of individuals! They walked off their farms and walked to the War!”
“Jean Louise,” he said dryly, “not much more than five per cent of the South’s population ever saw a slave, much less owned one. Now, something must have irritated the other ninety-five per cent.” Jean Louise looked blankly at her uncle. “Has it never occurred to you—have you never, somewhere along the line, received vibrations to the effect— ... They fought to preserve their identity. Their political identity, their personal identity.”
INTEGRITY, HUMOR, AND patience were the three words for Atticus Finch. There was also a phrase for him: pick at random any citizen from Maycomb County and its environs, ask him what he thought of Atticus Finch, and the answer would most likely be, “I never had a better friend.” Atticus Finch’s secret of living was so simple it was deeply complex: where most men had codes and tried to live up to them, Atticus lived his to the letter with no fuss, no fanfare, and no soul-searching. His private character was his public character. His code was simple New Testament ethic, its rewards were the respect and devotion of all who knew him. Even his enemies loved him, because Atticus never acknowledged that they were his enemies. He was never a rich man, but he was the richest man his children ever knew.
Alexandra was one of those people who had gone through life at no cost to themselves; had she been obliged to pay any emotional bills during her earthly life, Jean Louise could imagine her stopping at the check-in desk in heaven and demanding a refund.
Alexandra's social prejudice:
Fine a boy as he is, the trash won’t wash out of him. “Have you ever noticed how he licks his fingers when he eats cake? Trash. Have you ever seen him cough without covering his mouth? Trash. Did you know he got a girl in trouble at the University? Trash. Have you ever watched him pick at his nose when he didn’t think anybody was looking? Trash—”
“That’s not the trash in him, that’s the man in him, Aunty,” she said mildly.
Setting of Maycomb:
Until comparatively recently in its history, Maycomb County was so cut off from the rest of the nation that some of its citizens, unaware of the South’s political predilections over the past ninety years, still voted Republican. No trains went there—Maycomb Junction, a courtesy title, was located in Abbott County, twenty miles away. Bus service was erratic and seemed to go nowhere, but the Federal Government had forced a highway or two through the swamps, thus giving the citizens an opportunity for free egress. But few people took advantage of the roads, and why should they? If you did not want much, there was plenty.
When Calpurnia was at her side Jean Louise said, "Excuse me, please," reached up and brought Calpurnia's head to the level of her own. "Cal," she whispered, "is Atticus real upset?"
Calpurnia straightened up, looked down at her, and said to the table at large, "Mr. Finch? Nam, Miss Scout. He on the back porch laughin'!" Page 70
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