Harper Lee Attempts a Second Classic

Despite vowing that she would never publish again, Harper Lee is set to publish her second novel Go Set a Watchman on July 14. The novel is about a grown-up Jean Louise Finch, or “Scout,” from the famous American classic, To Kill A Mockingbird. In the novel, Scout returns to her hometown of Maycomb, Alabama to visit Atticus Finch, her father. Scout battles her own personal and political beliefs as she tries to understand her father’s beliefs and her own beliefs about her hometown. The novel is focused on the father-daughter relationship between Scout and Atticus and the racial tensions in small southern town during the 1950’s. In many ways, this novel can read like a sequel to her first novel, To Kill A Mockingbird.
In fact, Lee wrote Go Set A Watchman before To Kill A Mockingbird. The original manuscript for the novel was written in the 1950’s and only rediscovered last year by Lee’s good friend and attorney, Tonja Carter. While reading the manuscript of Go Set a Watchman, Lee’s editor was taken by references to Scout’s childhood and persuaded Lee to set this story aside and write a novel focusing on young Scout’s childhood, which later became To Kill A Mockingbird. After Carter’s recent rediscovery of the manuscript of Go Set a Watchman, Lee shared the story a few trustworthy people, who loved it.
Lee has stated that she is “humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years” (CNN). Go Set a Watchman is already ranked #1 on Amazon’s Classics list. Many have questioned whether Go Set a Watchman will live up to Harper Lee’s first novel, which 10 million copies have been sold. They claim that it “was rejected and then set aside for sixty years.” Regardless, many fans in the book community seem to be bursting with excitement with the announcement of Harper Lee’s second publication.