"Go Set a Watchman" | Teen Ink

"Go Set a Watchman"

May 21, 2015
By Emily Vetne BRONZE, Granger, Indiana
Emily Vetne BRONZE, Granger, Indiana
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

My family has lawyers on both sides of it, including both of my parents. I've never known anything besides people who defend the law. I even used to think that everyone had to go to law school after undergrad. Naturally, being what those of us like me call a "lawyers' brat," I've also grown up on Harper Lee’s classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird. My family loves that book so much that we call our dad “Daddicus” and we have a cat named Scout, so I can’t put into words how happy I am that Harper Lee’s publishing a sequel! It’s called Go Set a Watchman, and it will be in stores July 14th this year. According to Lee’s attorney, the manuscript was written in the 1950s but lost until last fall when it was discovered in an old filing cabinet. Harper Lee released a statement saying she reread it herself and tentatively sent it to a few publishers, when it was immediately snatched up.

I remember the last time I reread TKM--last spring, probably--and when I finished it I just sat and pressed the book between my palms and said to my dad, “I just want more Atticus. Now.” Dad teased me and said to just open the book back up to page one, that Atticus would be right where I left him, but that wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted new Atticus, new words of wisdom, but Dad said that couldn’t ever happen. Harper Lee was a Boo Radley, not a Scout Finch, and she would never publish a sequel.

Until now. We get more Scout! And Atticus! We might even get answers to our burning questions--did Scout marry Dill? Did Jem become a lawyer like Atticus? Did Scout become a teacher and did Atticus ever remarry? We’re about to find out. (Maybe.)
My only fear is that Watchman won’t be any good, or not as good as Mockingbird, or that it won’t answer our questions. What if Atticus at age 50 is not the same Atticus from 20 years prior? What if he’s turned mean as he grows into middle age, or what if 24-year-old Scout isn’t just as lovably sassy as she used to be? Miss Maudie will probably be dead, and Scout and Jem may not talk to Dill anymore, and we’re told at the end of TKM that Scout “never saw him [Boo Radley] again,” so what if Boo’s dead too? I just have such high expectations that I’m really worried GSW won’t fulfill. Can anything beat the original? Or even match it?

It’ll be interesting to see how my school's English teachers react to Go Set a Watchman, too. I personally hope the book is taught in English 9 classes along with TKM and The Help, since TKM is the 1930s, The Help is the 1960s, and Watchman fits perfectly in between them, as it’s set in the 1950s, 20 years after To Kill a Mockingbird. Harper Lee’s long-awaited sequel rounds out the racial unrest unit well, and it’s sure to be just as poignant as its predecessor.

Even if Go Set a Watchman doesn’t answer all of my questions, or even any of them, this lawyers’ brat who’s been spoon-fed Atticus Finch for as long as she can remember is just glad to be able to revisit her favorite residents of Maycomb County, Alabama.

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