Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Mixed Feelings and "Go Set a Watchman"

Having mixed feelings on the release of Go Set a Watchman.

It's not about the whole "Atticus is racist now" controversy, either. Since GSAW was written prior to To Kill a Mockingbird, and in fact TKAM is basically an alternate universe storyline born from aspects of GSAW during the editing process, I can separate out that this Atticus is literally not the same Atticus as our beloved hero. Instead, GSAW'S Atticus is a dark first draft of his character, completely changed and refined in the authoring of TKAM. They are really quite exclusive to themselves. So no, my concern does not lie here.

You see, when GSAW was first announced, I was beyond excited for this "new" chapter (ha) in Scout's journey. But as details about its publication gradually were made known I began to grow uneasy: While Harper Lee has very apparently officially agreed to it, her lawyer and others involved in the process seem much more enthused than she to send the book to the printer, and by a concerning degree. Lee in fact has still remained largely silent, not unlike she has for the past 40 years since TKAM, but everyone else gushes. I can't help but wonder how much manipulation went into convincing Lee to publish this story and towards what end. It almost seems exploitative.

And so my dilemma comes down to this: Despite misgivings about Lee's desire (or lack thereof) for this prototype of TKAM to ever be made manifest in the public sphere, undoubtedly the novel is still of great literary and historical importance, so which avenue towards its reading do I take? Do I rally on the side of ethics, rejecting the book and erring on the side of caution in supporting Lee's possible true desires? Or do I side with academia and consume it all the same, indulging in its significance while being wary of the events surrounding its murky revelation?

I know this is incredibly pedantic. I know I'm probably overthinking it. But it's past four in the morning, and that's what I do best at this time of day. Thanks for indulging me, Internet. ✌

No comments:

Post a Comment