The Perspective of Jean Louise in Go Set a Watchman


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To kill a Mockingbird and Go set a watch man are novels written by the same author — Harper Lee, which both showed the process of the development of scout’s characteristics from Scout’s perspective, how she changes from a young ignorant girl to an independent thoughtful young woman who looks forward to the freedom. In the Go set a Watchman, the author, Harper Lee, focused on the confusion of the adult Scout, and the hurt and the soul’s baptism that she experienced after returning to the Maycomb county. 

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The perspective of Jean Louise in Go set a watchman on Atticus had a significant change compared with to kill a Mocking bird. With the growing of the age and the more experience in New York which allows Jean Louise receive more freedom-thought, Scout showed much more maturity than in Mockingbird, which lead to the independence of Jean Louise both manually and physically. Because of these shifts of Scout’s life, her view of Atticus had a dramatically change in many ways which are pretty different from childhood and also helped Scout build an individual mind and keep independent on critical thinking.

To begin with, Atticus’s figure in Scout’s perspective changed dramatically due to the disparity on the racism problem. Her father, who she knew in her infancy, was a kind and decent man who dared to ‘devote himself’ to justice, and was an example and pride for her to do things for others. Now, in old age, he sat at the same table with the white racists to discuss the affairs of the county and town, which really made her ‘sick’ because ‘the person she once completely trusted failed her’ The only person she knew who gave her the confidence to point out that “he is a gentleman, he is a gentleman from the bone” betrayed her, openly, disgusting, shamelessly betrayed her. ‘ 

The holy figure of her father in her heart is dying. Harper Lee created a great contradiction between father and daughter in the Watchman in order to enlighten Scout’s mind. Lee reveals the key to father-daughter conflict: the phantom that the soul projected. It is easy to understand the daughter’s fatherly love, so that she is always imagining Atticus as a perfect dad. She projected all her values and ideals on her father, and wishfully acquiesced that her conscience was her father’s conscience. This is quite similar to moral kidnapping and using judgment of a mortal at the request of God. It was not Atticus have changed. Though he is old and weak. He could not stand at the gate of the prison as he used to stand against a crowd of farmers. He could not shoot mad dogs as before. But he is still the gentleman who have good manners. As an audience, just the perspective of Scout viewing her father changed.

In addition, Scott’s near-pathological adoration and belief in his father had made tremendous changes due to her perspective change on her father and Scout starts to see her father in a normal way. Atticus used his unique way to educate Scout. In her daughter’s heart, he was also an upright, friendly, open-minded, knowledgeable elder and a fighter against racial discrimination, even in the town of Maycomb, and he was also respected and trusted by all. In the course of his growth, his father’s influence was deeply ingrained, and he instilled his conscience and thought into his daughter and was worshipped by her as a god. With the passing of the time, Scout returned to the Maycomb county again. 

To her surprise, however, the manner in which she had always been regarded as God was contrary to what she had thought was fair and just. She was unable to accept her father’s imperfection and could not accept his father’s political point of view, and she was even rudely reviled her father and made her tiny ‘paranoia’ ruin the relationship between she and her father. Harper Lee created Scout’s verbal abuse and quarrel with his father to help Scott understand that his father was just an ordinary man and would not always be right. She learned that her father should be greeted to earth like an angel. And her father, Atticus, is not a god, he still has the shortcomings as others do.

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