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The Main Idea in Supplementary Novel Watchman

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Watchman establishes a milestone as a supplementary novel situated two decades after the first novel, To Kill A Mockingbird. The twenty-six year old Jean-Louise Finch arrives back home in Maycomb County, Alabama. Jean-Louise comes back home from New York to pay her greying father, Atticus Finch a visit. The novel is stationed in opposition to the background of civil rights strain and political enmity. Such strains were altering the South. Scout’s returning home turns out to be sour when she discovers troubling truths regarding her family and community. Set in the 1950s, Go Set a Watchman recounts the events that are relevant to the pertinent times and our own times.

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The word ‘watchman’ in the title of the novel is derived from a significant Biblical quotation, (Isaiah 21:6), and it alludes to ‘conscience’. Scout placates with her conscience with the present condition of Maycomb and achieves an understanding that it has been same all along. ‘Every man’s island, Jean Louise, every man’s watchman, is his conscience. There is no such thing as a collective conscious’.

There are total nineteen chapters and they are divided into seven parts. The part that disappointed me as a reader was the absence of the character, Jem. In the novel he is recounted as dead. However, in the prequel he was the major character and was as significant as Scout. Conversely, the parts I enjoyed the most were Scout’s flashbacks from her past. The mention of Jem was very sentimental as a reader.

Atticus’s beliefs were a consequence of his era and thought that South was not prepared for impartiality of races. Moreover, he became a member of the Klan and attended the meetings with the sole purpose of identifying other members of the Klan. ‘A man can condemn his enemies, but it’s wiser to know them’. Atticus is portrayed as a human figure not a saint which Scout has envisioned him to be. Scout sees her town more vivdly as she did before. She admits that she has been brought with familiarity towards all races. Furthermore, her aunt Alexandra calls her ‘colour blind’. However, due to this title Scout emerges as an idiosyncratic individual.

The other members of her community are privy to coloured beings. The most shocking revelation for Jean Louise is that her father’s perspective is extremely negative when it comes to racism and equality between the ‘white’ and the ‘negros’. ‘Had she insight, could she have perceived the barriers of her highly selective, insular world, she may have discovered that all her life she had been with a visual defect which had gone unnoticed and neglected by herself and those closest to her: she was born colour blind’.

The author, Harper Lee, grew up in Alabama. Harper Lee was born in Monroeville, Albama in 1926. She died at the age of eighty-nine, blind and deaf. Lee is also known to be ‘The Jane Austin of South Albama’. The protagonist, Jean Louise Finch also known as ‘Scout’ aged 26 is like a new moral compass characterised by the change that is emerging in the society.

Aunt Alexandra confronted Jean of her clothes, ‘Did you come down on train like that- Folks in town get the wrong impression of you’. Her aunt represented the typical orthodox thinking pattern which was countered by Jean’s contemporary thought as, ‘If I suddenly sprang on them fully clothed they’d say I’d gone Newyork…I don’t care what they think when I go around in slacks’. It has a certain relevance with ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’ as a piece of American history as its ending brings growing racial tolerance.

Conclusively, Lee has shown through her protagonist, a world that is embarked upon a necessary yet painful transformation from the stereotypical conventions. Scout is on a journey that can only be guided by a strong conscience. The novel also concerns Jean’s disillusionment about Finch’s racial discrimination ‘Finches do not marry the children of red-necked white trash’.      

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