The book was released across the country at precisely Tuesday midnight as many booksellers held readings and special screenings of the film ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.
According to the New York Times Harper Lee’s latest novel ‘Go Set a Watchman’ has hit the shelves. ‘Go Set a Watchman’ is completely contradictive from its predecessor where once a hero who defended a black man against racism is portrayed as an ailing bigot and a racist and makes one wonder why a man or moral integrity turned into such a personality.
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Atticus Finch the morally upright hero of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ fought for a black man against rape charges but in the sequel he is shown to have attended a Ku Klux Klan meeting saying things such as “The Negroes down here are still in their childhood as a people.”
After the release of ‘Go Set a Watchman’ although critic and fan response has been uncertain as the gentle hero has turned into just another racist, the sales of the novel remained steady. ‘Go Set a Watchman’ is the sequel to ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ situated in the same fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama.
Scout is now a 26 years old woman, while her father is 72 and suffers from rheumatoid arthritis. Another disappointing development for Harper Lee fans was the fact Jem is now dead and unlike ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ the book ‘Go Set a Watchman’ is told from the third person.
Even though people have been appalled by the new take on Atticus Finch, a report by Al-Jazeera claims the novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ was already a white supremacy story.
Nobel laureate Toni Morrison called ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ in early 2015 as a “white savior” narrative, “one of those” books that showed the black people as passive recipients or mere onlookers in the actually brutal fight for equality. The book To Kill a Mockingbird’ reframed the view of the civil rights movement as being decided by the white people while the blacks just humbly stood by and was a far cry from reality.
None of the activism and resistance display by the black community during the civil rights especially in the South was hinted at in the Harper Lee novel, instead a white lawyer was glorified. However in ‘Go Set a Watchman’ the reality of the situation has come forward as Atticus Finch is revealed to be a person with some racist views rather than an idealistic character.
The existence of ‘Go Set a Watchman’ was revealed in February and has since then become the most ordered book on Amazon. Readers have pre-ordered the book in mass orders and despite the initial criticism and misgivings the book is selling all out even in the UK.
Previously people had misgivings about the novel believing Harper Lee may not have wanted it to be released ever and some have even called it a rough edit as ‘Watchman’ was previously rejected by publishers in the 1950’s.
NBC reports Tonja Carter the legal attorney of Harper Lee has indicated there is another Harper lee novel. Carter revealed the news in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal and called it a third novel by the reclusive author Harper Lee.
According to Carter the recent examination of a safety deposit box from Lee's hometown of Monroeville, Alabama and it had revealed the manuscript for ‘Go Set a Watchman’ under a pile of other documents described by Carter as "underneath a stack of a significant number of pages of another typed text."
Carter further said "Was it an earlier draft of 'Watchman,' or of 'Mockingbird,' or even, as early correspondence indicates it might be, a third book bridging the two? I don't know,". Carter also shared the contents of the pages will be reviewed and the pages will be authenticated under the supervision of Lee.
As the response to ‘Go Set a Watchman’ has been becoming overwhelmingly disappointing as regard to moral integrity, many fans have been wondering if Harper Lee even wanted the novel to be released.
Some claim the author Harper Lee now 89 years old may have been manipulated into publishing the book as she has still remained out of the public eye, however according to a story by USA Today the friends of Harper Lee have claimed she is in full faculty of her senses.
A celebratory lunch on the 30th of June was held in honor of the release. At the lunch in Monroeville, Alabama, the guest list included lawyer, Tonja B. Carter, HarperCollins president Michael Morrison and the literary agent, Andrew Nurnberg.
Carter told Murphy on camera referring to the ‘Watchman’: "It's not Mockingbird. This is a first submission...it is exactly as she wrote it." Here are five things we learned from the clip PBS released today.
Carter also commented on Lee’s insistence to remain out of the public eye: "She's been misquoted," says Carter. "She's not a recluse. She has lots of friends who still come to see her and she still goes places with them. But she just does not like the public life."
Carter also recalled Lee’s response to the discovery of ‘Go Set a Watchman’: "She said, 'What novel?'" "I said, 'Go Set the Watchman.' She said, 'No, it's Go Set A Watchman.' I said, 'What is that? Is it finished?' She said, 'Of course it's finished, it was the parent of Mockingbird.'"
Also at the lunch Joy Brown a long-time friend and a benefactor of Harper Lee revealed: ‘Oh, she has all her marbles, let me tell you.’ referring to Lee’s mental facility.
EW News on the other hand shared some of the most beautiful lines from ‘Go Set a Watchman’ and some of the really good ones are:
1. “When you live in New York, you often have the feeling that that New York’s not the world. I mean this: every time I come home, I feel like I’m coming back to the world …”
2. “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.”
3. “The last time she skirmished with Alexandra was when her brother died. After Jem’s funeral, they were in the kitchen cleaning up the remains of the tribal banquets that are a part of dying in Maycomb.”