“Go Set A Watchman” Review : A Reader’s Take

Remember  the young child roaming the streets of Maycomb with her brother and friend. Well, she has grown up to be a bigoted young lady. From Scout she has become Miss Jean Louise Finch, a relatively pleasant-looking lady with strong view points. She is in her 26th year fighting with the idea of married secure peaceful life of oblivion. Atticus Finch, now in his 72nd year is apprehensive of the changes occurring in the socio-political scenario of America. In their inner struggle to stand up for what they believe in, both Atticus and Scout have a sea of difference between them. They falter and fight with each other’s view yet they don’t fall apart. At one point Atticus even declares that he is a Jeffersonian Democrat. One who believes that people have to earn privileges. They have to reach a point where they can handle it. Deserve it. Scout on the other hand accuses him of not being a democrat. To which Atticus relents neither was Jefferson. (Atticus and Jean Louise’s argument makes wonder – Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck would be magnificent as the feisty daughter and old crippled gentleman respectively) While reading this particular chapter you realise in order to make a law feasible you need to prepare both the majority and minority of population. The difference would be made through a social struggle which can reach its zenith at the legal battle. Not the other way round. Another important point that this novel raises is the inner struggle of a person in times of turmoil. Times when you see  two contradicting person in yourself. Scout visualizes the same contradicting personalities in his septuagenarian father. One personality which made him defend a black man in court years ago. Another, which makes guard his own world from external changes and makes him a racist. Scout’s uncle Jack points out the existence of this contradiction in every man  by saying ” look at yourself, Jean Louise whom do you see?” Uncle Jack later makes the situation clear to Jean Louise. Makes her aware that this a solitary battle and she has to fight her own battle. The battle you fight with your own people are the hardest. ” Everyman’s  island, Jean Louise, everyman’s a watchman,his conscience. There is no such thing as a collective conscious.” This line aptly justifies the title of the novel. Jean Louise’s apprehension that she can’t survive in this atmosphere, in such hostility ; is cleared by Jack’s statement ” your friends needs you more when they are wrong than they are right”. Jack makes thing clear for Jean Louise stating ” prejudice, a dirty word and faith, a noble word have the same problem. they start where reason ends”. The heart-warming part of this novel is the little package of surprises. The character of Henry and Uncle Jack. Henry, Scout’s childhood  lifelong friend who expects to be her better half one day.  The same person she went on a date with at the age  of fourteen. The adolescent time when like other girls she was apprehensive of her figure. Henry saw through her then and now. He is absent in Scout’s summer holidays. Uncle Jack, Atticus’s brother who is a doctor and a Victorian english literature scholar. This character comes across as the instrument which clears the clutter of Jean Louise’s mind. Surprisingly, at the end you find out that Jack loved Atticus’s wife. Hence, he looked after her children as one of his. While “To kill a mocking-bird” enthralled and inspired us, its characters were one-sided. Quite unrealistic in nature. They lacked the struggle, the vitality , the spontaneity and the contradiction. Atticus was always  an upright righteous man. An icon to his children. His children, Jem and Scout were mischievous yet obedient.


In “Go Set A Watchman”, you get a deeper insight into the main characters, Atticus and Jean Louise. Their struggle, their vulnerabilities, their insecurities and their highs & lows. This novel provides a peep into a person’s struggle during changing times. All the while, it gives a realistic outlook towards society. Moreover, It provides a greater insight into the complexity of laws –  its checks and balance. The tiresome and uneasy job of a court – to upheld both human rights and the constitution. To bridge the social divide between the majority and the minority, the have’s and the have-nots’.

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