Thursday, January 21, 2016
Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee
I know that there was tons of controversy surrounding the release of Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman, BUT selfishly, I am so happy that it was released. Harper Lee is a good writer who gives her readers a lot to think about. I believe that all of our talents are connected to enhancing the lives of others, and in return our lives are enhanced. I believe that none of us should take any of our talents to the grave with us; we should deplete every last one of them before we leave this earth if possible. Not sure why she did not publish this book years ago, but I want to believe that the praise and glory that she would have gotten from this book may have given her the fuel to write tons and tons of books! Yea, there would have been haters, but haters can fuel us to greatness as well.
This book drew me right in with Scout, Harper Lee’s character from To Kill A Mockingbird, returning home to Maycomb county. There were so many things that felt familiar and made me feel warm such as the smells of the deep South, that warm, small town feeling, and the idea that at home you can drop all pretense and just REST for just a little while. However, just like Scout’s experience, sometimes home ain’t all that we romanticize it to be.
When Scout returned home not much appeared to have changed, but she quickly learned new things about her town and her father that were unsettling; they were fighting integration. However, with the way that Lee writes about this time in history in the deep South, mid 1950’s, I could clearly see both sides, and I thought a lot about Booker T. Washington and his philosophy of “Cast down your buckets where you are.”
Scout thought about her father, Atticus, and to her and her brother, Jim, Atticus was a super hero, and now she has to deal with the fact that Atticus is not a super hero, but he is definitely human. Now, isn’t that life? I remember hearing someone that I looked up to say something that I thought was completely hurtful about another person, and I had to deal with the idea that even our heroes are not perfect, and this is what Scout seems to be dealing with in this book. After I heard this person say something that showed me that she was human, I can still hear those words in my head even though its been over fifteen years. However, I try and cast down the hurt and focus on the idea that this person is human and needs grace and so do I.
The cleverness of Lee’s writing is that she makes the reader think, and I thought a lot about integration, hearing and trying to see things from a different perspective, what defines a heroes etc.
Recently, my mom and I drove through Monroeville, Alabama, the hometown of Lee and inspiration for her novels, and I couldn’t help but to think about Lee’s two book, and Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson which talks about a guy who was falsely accused of a murder in Monroeville, and he was sent to death row for thirty years before he was finally released. I rode through Monroeville wondering if things have changed at all....
Now, I absolutely love Lee’s first novel To Kill A Mockingbird, and I taught it for many years with my whole heart, and I love Go Set A Watchman just as much. I can’t wait to teach it and help other teachers to teach it as well.....
Happy, Happy, Happy that this gift, Go Set A Watchman, was finally given to the world!!
My People, consider not going to the grave with your gifts still inside of you; we need them...