from my bookshelf: go set a watchman by harper lee


lee’s second published book is set twenty years after to kill a mockingbird. in it, scout finch is 26-years-old and travels from new york city to visit her father, atticus in their hometown of maycomb, alabama. scout learns repulsive truths about her family’s stance on race (yes, even atticus, the man who seemingly is the moral compass of the finch family and their tiny town). go set a watchman casts a spotlight on the unavoidable plague of racism in scout’s life as she enters adulthood. scout struggles with her identity as a southerner, a finch, and young woman navigating a particularly heinous segment of the “civil rights era” in american history.


“He did not regard Jean Louise as a sister. In the years when he was away at the war and the University, she had turned from an overalled, fractious, gun-slinging creature into a reasonable facsimile of a human being. He began dating her on her annual two-week visits home, and although she still moved like a thirteen-year-old boy and abjured most feminine adornment, he found something so intensely feminine about her that he fell in love. She was easy to look at and easy to be with most of the time, but she was in no sense of the word an easy person. She was afflicted with a restlessness of spirit he could not guess at, but he knew she was the one for him. He would protect her; he would marry her.”

“Hell is eternal apartness. What had she done that she must spend the rest of her years reaching out with yearning for them, making secret trips to long ago, making no journey to the present? I am their blood and bones, I have dug in this ground, this is my home. But I am not their blood, the ground doesn’t care who digs it, I am a stranger at a cocktail party.”

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