The beloved novel, To Kill a Mockingbird presents a tale of reconciliation between whites and African-Americans that is a refreshing contrast to the racial tensions in the U.S. today. Lee’s second publication, however, did not received quite the same acclaim from critics or Lee’s fan base. Go Set A Watchman tells a vastly different story, although it uses the same characters and setting, and this does not sit well with with lovers of To Kill a Mockingbird. However, it is a stunning novel that is worth reading.
The story both contrasts and compares the types of change one can make in a community. Go Set A Watchman is an essential read for the Christian community because it shows how one’s convictions may conflict with their actions and how this struggle reflects on his or her character.
To Kill a Mockingbird's narrative deals with many heavy issues including rape and racial inequality. The issues are addressed in a manner that brings them into the light and portrays the victims as blameless, regardless of their race or gender. The classic became one of the first of many novels that attempt to reconcile racial tension. However, this was not the original story that Harper Lee wanted to tell. Go Set A Watchman her original manuscript, paints To Kill a Mockingbird's hero, Atticus Finch, as the enemy of African-Americans fighting for justice and equality.
Publishers rejected Lee’s first manuscript for this reason, and Lee was forced to rewrite her entire story. Go Set A Watchman shatters Scout’s childish notions that her father. Though Atticus admits his fault in racism and ridden with guilt, he remains a racist nonetheless. Rather than defending the innocent African-Americans in the community, he does everything in his power to make sure the black community cannot win. While in To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus revolts against the status quo by seeking racial equality, in this novel, he is just another prominent, middle-aged man who garners privilege with his white skin and resists the call for racial justice in Maycomb.
In both narratives, Atticus has a huge effect on his community. Such is often the case in our own society: standards are set by white men to suit their own needs and gain success from feeding off their fellow citizen’s desires—as reflected by many prominent male leaders in local and national government. As in To Kill a Mockingbird, the narrative is told through the voice of an adult Scout who is struggling to find her values in the years after the novel’s events. Her struggle is much more raw and realistic than her original childish notions.
Though Go Set A Watchman may not have been the sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird that readers expected, but it is still a beautiful and important work of literature that deserves acclaim in its own right. The novel can be interpreted in many different ways, but if readers look at it through a Christian lens, one can see many parallels between how one should respond to sinful judgement and how it often ends up. Atticus may not be the hero readers once took him to be, but it is the vulnerable stance he takes towards his brokenness that makes the novel worthwhile. Read the heart-wrenching, soul-searching story of Go Set A Watchman: even if you disagree with the morals presented of the story, you will not be disappointed with your decision