By Essence Dennis |Staff Writer|
However some critics are skeptical of the subject matter and relevance to today’s young adult fiction readers. Others are concerned that Lee is being exploited.
In my opinion I believe that “Go Set a Watchman” will have a strong cultural impact given that the subject matter and themes explored will be similar to that of its predecessor despite critic beliefs that Lee is being exploited.
“Go Set a Watchman” follows an adult Scout Finch who journeys from her residence of New York, back home to Maycomb, Alabama.
Scout returns to visit her father, former lawyer Atticus Finch, roughly twenty years after a trial in which he defended Tom, a black man, unjustly convicted of rape and was eventually killed.
In TKAM, Lee shows the reader the harmful emotional, mental, and physical consequences of dealing with racial prejudice, discrimination, unfair justice, and the death of innocence.
For some students, if “Go Set a Watchman” continues to discuss some of those same themes and subject matter present in TKAM it would still hold relevancy.
“It seems pretty relevant, because it’s an old story. There’s even more meaning than a lot of today’s media,” said student De’Shaun Wilson.
Interestingly enough, Lee apparently wrote “Go Set a Watchman” before TKAM, but was told to write a new story from a younger Scout in early 1930s South, according to nytimes.com.
Since TKAM’s release, “Go Set a Watchman” was put away, and almost forgotten.
One can only imagine how society and the perspectives of Lee’s characters have changed in “Go Set a Watchman.”
However, some critics, like author Joyce Carol Oates do not feel Lee’s sequel will be as captivating, because young adult fiction lacks ambiguity, according to thedailydot.
“Have to concede that I never read more than a chapter or two of “Mockingbird”–wonderful YA voice but Kafka & ambiguity intrigued me more,” tweeted Oates.
Other critics believe Lee is being taken advantage of, claiming that her circle of agents and lawyers have cynical motivations behind the novel’s release, according to the newyorker.
“Lee’s handlers have placed her fans in a morally compromised position no matter what. If the novel comes out with no clear and compelling indication that Lee wanted it published, buying it is wrong,” said Katy Waldman in her article “Don’t Publish Harper Lee’s New Novel, HarperCollins.”
Lee, 88 years old, never planned on releasing any other book under her name.
After her 103 year old sister passed away it seemed as if Lee’s lawyer, who found the manuscript, was quick to have her sign papers to release the novel, according to The Guardian.
“Lee who is deaf and nearly completely blind, that lives in an assisted-living home had believed the manuscript was lost,” according to The Guardian.
While some may believe Lee is being exploited and others do not believe in the release’s cultural relevance, in my opinion,“Go Set a Watchman” will be an important addition to American literature and culture for both young and adult readers alike.