‘Go Set A Watchman’ is to hit stores today and since it is coming from a celebrated author of a masterpiece that is appreciated and loved globally, stories on its content and its release are flooding the spaces – readers’ thoughts and media analyses.
And what is adding to the aura of anticipation (and the controversy) is the long gap – some 55 years.
Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set A Watchman’ is reaching to its readers today. It is her second novel in her whole career and it comes after 55 years when ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ was published in 1960 – on July 11.
Reviews say the book is based on Jean Louise Finch/ Scout Finch, daughter of Atticus Finch. Reviews say fans of ‘Atticus Finch’ will find hard to accept a ‘racial Atticus Finch’ here. Reviews say many readers who love ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ will ignore this book. Reviews say the book is from a draft written in 1950s but discovered recently. Some reviews says even the third book is going come out. Some reviews also write about the literary cohesiveness of the work.
So, there is an intensive debate all around. And maximum words go for the character of Atticus Finch, the greatest American hero as voted by the American Film Institute. And Atticus has been chosen so for his character traits – anti-racial, humanely and straight family man.
Let’s see what some of the headlines say:
‘More complex than Harper Lee’s original classic, but less compelling’ – is what Mark Lawson writes in The Guardian. Gaby Wood in The Telegraph finds in ‘an anxious work in progress’. The Wall Street Journal’s Jeffrey A Trachtenberg says after reading many reviews that ‘this Atticus in Go Set A Watchman is no saint’. ABC News analysis comes to the conclusion that the upcoming books shows dark side of Atticus Finch. According to a piece on BBC’s website, the book reveals ‘Finch as a bigot’. Jay Parini on CNN categorizes the book ‘as a bombshell’.
Daniel D’Addario in Time finds the book and Finch’s character in it a ‘growing up’ experience. The Washington Post’s Natasha Trethewey writes about a ‘less noble Atticus Finch’. Daniel Arkin, while writing for NBC News, sees a possibility that the book ‘could irk kids named after Atticus Finch’. Matilda Battersby in The Independent suggests the changes ‘can be explained with the nature of Harper Lee’s father on whom the character of Atticus Finch is based’. Alexandra Alter in The New York Times takes a booking approach when she writes – ‘while some are shocked by ‘Go Set a Watchman,’ others find nuance in a bigoted Atticus Finch’.
And there are many more.
‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ is a timeless classic and its popularity was amplified globally by the movie of the same name based on it. The movie came within two years of the book – in 1962 – and the quick film adaptation took the appeal of the book even far and wide.
A raging debate on ‘racial’ Atticus Finch tells why ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ is a masterpiece. In fact the global appeal of Atticus Finch, outside America, owes largely to the film version of the movie and has become a cultural phenomenon with changing times – in times when racism in legally illegal.
I would be looking at ‘Go Set A Watchman’ as yet another work and would like to know the author more with character treatments here. For me, Atticus Finch of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ is going to remain the same. And I believe it would be so for the majority. I didn’t read most of the reviews. Their headlines did the work for me – for what I was looking at.
‘Go Set A Watchman’ will be in stores today – and readers would like to have their own review.
After all – “best way to clear the air is to have it all out in the open”- as Atticus Finch says.
Reports say it could be the ‘fastest selling book on record’. A report in The Independent says pre-sale orders of the book have surpassed the final Harry Potter book.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/