I would never second guess a writer who wrote a book such as “To Kill A Mockingbird”; or for that matter, her prequel which was released as a sequel, “Go Set A Watchman”. Both books written from two entirely different perspectives, reality or rose colored glasses.
It is up to the readers to determine which is which and those choices are purely personal.
Watchman has a lot of the truth of those times in which it is set. Mockingbird also has those same truths. The major difference is the characters of Atticus and Scout. In Mockingbird, the Atticus character is one of strong courage and integrity; the stuff John F. Kennedy’s books, “Profiles In Courage” honors. Scout’s character was shaped by his moral fiber which went against all odds. Didn’t she realize the difference her father made in that instance?
In Watchman we see the character, Atticus, who knew but one way to function in the environment in which he lived. To go along to get along was surely a coward’s way, but in those circumstances it could have been the only way to create that single, significant change in the universe. Scout moves away from the south and becomes a disillusioned adult woman, not only by her father, but by the world of prejudice she endures as a female, even in the progressive world of New York City. I wonder, why didn’t she fight to make one small difference?
I, for one, can see how Ms. Harper wrote “Go Set a Watchman” first. Perhaps that was her truth – her reality.
Perhaps, “To Kill A Mockingbird” was written once she got the reality of that time out of her system. Conceivably it was only then that she could put her rose colored glasses on and write the story the way she wanted the world to be, one of goodness and strength that made changes that could be built upon for generations to come – just as Rumi said, “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.”
For that is what writer’s often do.
Even God took imperfect people to do great things. The book of Judges in the Bible could almost have been written by horror author Stephen King in some instances, and by Reverend Billy Graham in others. Flawed people are just that, often consumed with guilt, suffering with the scars from their family history or personal failings. When I think about myself, underwhelmed comes to mind. Yet, over the course of my life, God has shown that He loves to use weak and silly people like me. This reminds me that my responsibility is response to God’s ability. Flawed people so often make change for the greater good, even when they just go along to get along.
We all choose triumphs of good over evil or we choose the heartache of evil over good. Let’s please not miss the good that came, generation after generation, from Mockingbird and not allow Watchman to be a “gotcha” about two flawed characters.
I choose to believe.
Leave a Reply