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Racist Atticus Finch was first Atticus Finch

atticusfinch

Welp, Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman went on sale today, and lefty hearts exploded all over the world. Here, if you needed some cheering up, some quotes from the article I just linked:

The New York Times said the revelation could “reshape Ms Lee’s legacy” and made for “disturbing reading”.

Writing for The Guardian, Mark Lawson said: “If the text now published had been the one released in 1960, it would almost certainly not have achieved the same greatness. This is not so much due to literary inferiority, but because Go Set a Watchman is a much less likeable and school-teachable book.

The Independent’s Arifa Akbar said: “We will never be able to read Mockingbird in the same way again, and never see Atticus in the same light again.

(By the way, LOL at the name Arifa Akbar. You reckon when they call out her table in a restaurant, everybody hits the deck?).

This is because Watchman’s Atticus Finch is a racist who once belonged to the Klan (“when it was respectable, like the Masons”) and says things like, “Do you want your children going to a school that’s been dragged down to accommodate Negro children?”

Oh, the book is still anti-racist — it takes place twenty years after Mockingbird and the whole point is that a grownup, sophisticated Scout winces at the n-word — but Atticus Finch was a beloved icon, now unceremoniously de-pedestalled.

Tee hee.

Even better, it turns out Watchman was actually the first draft of Mockingbird. Lee’s literary agent read it and thought it would work better if she extracted the flashbacks and made them into their own book. So racist Atticus was there all along, the first and original Atticus.

Tee hee hee.

If any of you actually read it, would you let me know if it’s well written? Because she never published again, there was a persistent rumor that Truman Capote, her lifelong friend (and the model for Dill) was the actual author.

sock it to me

July 14, 2015 — 9:06 pm
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