Go Set a Watchman Parts 5-7
Hello everyone and welcome to my last post on this blog! (unless I decide to pick up blogging as a hobby, who is interested in joining my book club?) I have just finished reading the novel Go Set a Watchman, and honestly, I really liked it. It’s weird, but I have this feeling that the Ontario Government keeps the best pieces of literature last. I am very happy to have chosen this novel as it tied in with To Kill a Mockingbird (duh), Lord of the Flies, The Namesake, and The Great Gatsby.
Before I begin my final analysis, let me give you a quick run-down of what went on in these last chapters. Jean decides to go see her Uncle Jack, he’s the crazy one in the family but he’s really smart, so it makes up for it because she thinks she can get answers out of him. Unfortunately, it is not the case this time. Uncle Jack fills her with weird riddles and metaphors that don’t really make sense to her and so, with a wasted afternoon and no answers, Jean decides to get to the bottom of the issue herself. She sets up a date with Hank and confronts him about her issue of having him on the racist council alongside Atticus. Hank tries to explain himself but Jean will have non of it, and breaks it off between them for good. As Jean storms away, she meets Atticus who agrees to have a talk with her. During their so-called discussion, Atticus reveals his motives for taking part in the council but Jean being as stubborn as she is, gets extremely emotional and lashes out calling Atticus a son of a bitch! (ouuuu burn) When she gets back to the house, she tries to pack her things to leave but Uncle Jack stops her and explains everything. Jean viewed Atticus as a godlike figure and could never break this image due to his amazing character and grew up to think they shared the same conscience. During her argument, she “kills” that godlike idea of him until Atticus becomes to her what he really is, a flawed human like every one of us. They reconcile and everything is good between them (so cute).
As I had explained in the summary, Jean treated Atticus to the same status as God her whole life. She did not believe that he could ever be or do wrong. However, coming back to Maycomb makes her realize that no humans are perfect, and that they all have their reasons to behave in the way they do. During their argument, Jean genuinely tears her father’s character apart, and is finally able to see him for who he really is, thus making it easier to accept him. This scene reminded me a lot of the scene of Jesus’ crucifixion. In the Bible Jesus-the Son of God, is crucified as other members taunt him to save himself and prove himself as the Son of God. However, Jesus sacrifices himself and dies on the cross to save others. Only then is he proclaimed as the Song of God and as divine. Jesus has a godlike figure who died the same way as his brothers, and therefore”lowered” to their state. In GSaW, Atticus is that godlike figure who needs to be “killed” in order to seem “lower” or human again. Only then, will he be accepted by Jean for who he truly is. Just like in the Bible, Atticus does not show any will to change the course of events and lets Jean “kill” this idealized version of him. He even tells Jean he loves her after she tells him she never wants anything to do with him (THE FEEELS). Once it is over, they can finally reconcile.
Furthermore on the topic of religion, the title of the novel is brought up once again when Uncle Jack explain to Jean what truly went on between her father and I, “every man’s watchman, is his conscience” (Lee, 265). This quote further develops the analogy developed in the previous paragraph as it explains Jean’s feeling on anger and abandonment. Her watchman thinks differently and so reports to her the things she see through her own morals and values. Her whole life, she had assumed her watchman and Atticus’ were one, explaining her betrayal when he doesn’t seem to be following his conscience. Uncle Jack explains that everyone has their own watchman, kind of like a guardian angel, who reports to them things int he way they’d like to interpret it.
What is a home?
A recurring theme developed in this novel is home and acceptance. As the story unravels, Jean questions the place she grew up in and whether she does belong or not. Before her talk with Hank, Jean reminisces and comes to the conclusions that she “[is] their blood and bones, [she has] dug in this ground, this is [her] home. But [she] is not their blood, the ground doesn’t care who digs it, [she] is a stranger at a cocktail party.” (225)
Jean explores the idea of home and what it really means. To her, home is not where you grew up anymore as the “ground doesn’t care” who lived on it. For it to be home, she feels that she needs to be of the same blood and agree on the same topics. She realizes that it is hard to fit in where you’re not, but luckily won’t ever doubt her real home and where she feels comfortable. Her argument with Atticus takes place in his office, a setting she describes as “a source of refuge for her. It was friendly. It was a place where, if troubles did not vanish, they were made bearable.” (237) For the first time since her visit, she finally finds a place where she belongs and feels comfortable. The fight occurring after demonstrates the effect of having a home on an individual. As it is the first time Jean is in a place where she feels like she belongs, she can be completely honest with the individuals and from this fight, does everything get resolved in the end.
Another feminist mini-rant (+ did Fitzgerald take this idea from Lee?)
As this novel mainly concentrates on shedding light on racial issues in the South, misogyny is still represented. When Jean starts ranting at Atticus, he says “Now that I’ve adjusted my ear to feminine reasoning, I think we find ourselves believing in the very same things.” (241) Really, Atticus? This very line portrays so much hysteria and weakness that my eyes almost got stuck to the back of my head from rolling them back so hard… Atticus is clearly trying to prove a point that women are the weaker sex and therefore, have weaker logical senses. In order for a man to understood a woman, he must stoop down to her level and “adjust his ear to feminine reasoning” to understand her. I mean, come on Atticus, I thought you were better than that.
Along the lines of feminism, during her argument, Jean blames this whole thing on her father and defends that he hadn’t raised her to be so open-minded and thinks o deeply, maybe she never would’ve been in this whole mess. her soliloquy reminded me of a line in The Great Gatsby when Daisy explains that she would want her daughter to be a “beautiful little fool” (Fitzgerald, 118) because “that’s the best thing a girl can be” (118). In GSaW, Jean hoped that she’d been raised as a fool just like the rest of Maycomb and never have the ability to judge others differently. Jean, you’re so silly! Why would you want that? Don’t wish upon yourself to be more stupid and perpetuate the idea that being a dumb girl will make you happier in life.. You are a strong independent woman!
Although I really did like this book, I am warning anyone reading this post. If you liked To Kill a Mockingbird, DO NOT DO THIS TO YOURSELF. This novel ruined Atticus’ character for me and I don’t know how I’m going to be able to help my little brother anymore with his TKaM essay now because part of me just wants to shout ATTICUS WAS A RACIST STOP PRAISING HIM!! But anyways, setting that aside, the novel is definitely a worthy read. The plot does not develop much throughout the novel but it was interesting to read a piece of literature that is so brutally honest about the issues that goes on in the World. Harper Lee did an amazing job of portraying the issues in the South during that time period and I wish more books were as honest in revealing truths about our society.
Lit Lisa OUT