Maand: juli 2016

Go Set A Watchman: dark and cynical on the still continuing difference between the North and the South of the United States

Go Set A Watchman is as the sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird. But it is darker 51cc2jfysbl-_sx323_bo1204203200_the The Mockingbird.

Atticus, the moral hero in the Mockingbird, falls of his pedestal in the Watchman. Especially in the eyes of his admiring daughter, Scout.

There is no more hope for Atticus, who fights against injustice in the Mockingbird. The coloured people have gotten their own lawyers and are no longer dependent on the few whites defending them. This development however has not led to more unity. It has increased more separation. It has raised suspicion between black and white. It has shattered the balance in the village.

Scout struggles with this character of the South.

Dr Finch, Atticus brother explains to her the history of the war of the south. It is a battle for keeping their identity.

“Now then, Scout,” said her uncle, “Now, at this very minute, a political philosophy foreign to it is being pressed on the South, and the South’s not ready for it – we’re finding ourselves in the same deep waters. As sure as the time, history is repeating itself, and as sure as man is man, history is the last place he’ll look for his lessons.”

The Watchman describes that sharp difference between republicans and democrats in the United States, which we can still find today. That same identity battle. The war between North and South is still ongoing. Nowhere is the battle between left and right so fundamental and also obstructive as here in the US. I was stunned to read that so little has changed.

More shocking I found the character development of Scout. The Mockingbird and The Catcher in The Rye were these fantastic novels in which the juvenile protagonists stand by their naive but authentic self, do not give in no matter how bad it ends. But in The Watchman, the idealistic, radical character of Scout is crushed and she finally seems to submit to indolence, she finds her home and inner stability after a big fallout with Atticus.

What a darkness: equality fails, ideology fails, cynicism and indolence prevails.

The Mockingbird, a moral story

I got the Mockingbird for my birthday. Along with Gto_kill_a_mockingbirdo Set A Watchman. I had not read it before and thought it was time now to catch up.

There seems to have been quite a debate about Go Set A Watchman, the Mockingbird sequel. Originally the early version of the Mockingbird, it was published only in 2015, about 55 years after the Mockingbird. According to some the publication was against the will of Harper Lee herself.  According to other sources, Lee was not mentally capable anymore that late stage of her life to put off the publication.

Harper Lee recently passed away, in February this year.

I only knew her name as the writer of the classic Mockingbird. She grew up in the south of the US, and some of the stories in the book 51cc2jfysbl-_sx323_bo1204203200_let’s say show parallels to biographical facts in het life. After writing the Mockingbird, she slowly disappeared from public life. Her biography is shockingly uninteresting.

The book breaths the southern small town, countryside feeling, I associate with William Faulker books like As I Lay Dying.

And Nick Cave’s And the Ass Saw The Angel. Rotten characters, Euchrid Eucrow like. A lazy mood caused by early day booze.

The introduction is the second best book introduction.

“Please spare Mockingbird an introduction”

(The best is the Salmon of Doubt introduction by Terry dying63Jones).

And I found a place where J.K. Rowling may have gotten her idea for Dementors in the Harry Potter series from: Hot Steams.

‘A Hot Steam’s somebody who can’t get to heaven, just wallows around on lonesome roads an’ if you walk through him, when you die you’ll be one too, an’ you’ll go around at night suckin’ people’s breath -‘

Hot Steam is a southern US superstition.

Boo Radley, a dark small town legend, a potential Euchrid Eucrow, prefers to live indoors. Because he wants to. Because he hates the small town outside. But unlike Euchrid Eucrow, Boo remains on the light side and becomes a hero, saving the kids Jem and Scout from the real dark Euchrid Eucrow character of the story, Bob Ewell.9780241966570_andtheasssawtheangel_cov1-768x1178

The hero of the story is Atticus Finch, the father of Jem and Scout, . The story is told through Scout, who observes the small town manners, flaws, prejudices, discriminations. Atticus Finch is the moral champion. Against the will of the white people in the village, he defends the black Tom Robinson who is accused of raping a white girl, even though Atticus knows the case can not be won and the jury has already convicted the black man.

Further reading.

Harper Lee – Go Set A Watchman

Nick Cave – And The Ass Saw The Angel

William Faulkner – As I Lay Dying