Mockingbird

If you want to elicit a strong reaction bring up Lee, “Mockingbird” and “Watchman.”  I picked up a copy of “Watchman” at a friend’s house.  She grabbed it out of my hand and said, “I haven’t read that yet.”  I asked her why and she said she was afraid to.  I hadn’t read it either but only then did I realize I possessed the same fear.

This was America at it’s finest, including The Noble Prize.  A book about good and evil, sin and redemption.  We still cry when we hear those words.  “Stand up Scott. Your Daddy’s passing.”  Racial injustice during the era when those things were the status quo.  That trial held a mirror up to America and forced her to look.  A story so interquitly woven, full of gentle yet tragic lessons of morality that it gave us hope of change.

Confession and forgiveness and for the evil that would remain, that rabid dog was shot and killed.  Boo Radley, our fears that lie in the darkness, rose up to show it had just been a childish bad dream.  All was right with the world.  Go and sin no more.

The story made us better people as long as men like Atticus Finch existed.  Why, after all these years,  would she ask us to re-examine that summer and fall?  Many of us can’t do it.

Harper Lee was a recluse.  She gave no interviews and shunned the spotlight.  There would be no second book. We were sure and surely didn’t need it.  She and Truman Capote were best friends.  She helped Truman fight his own demons while writing “In Cold Blood.”  A more odd pairing of friendship, I can not imagine. 

Like screaming, “FIRE!” In a crowded theater, someone postulated that Capote, not Lee had written “Mockingbird. ”  “Watchman” had not been written by the same person who gave us Jim, Scout and Atticus, not in that form.

When I asked that question,  I got some strong reactions.  My answer is simple. I don’t have the will or the courage to read “Watchman.”  Like so many other people,  I refuse to desecrate Atticus Finch.  I just can’t do it so my original question was just that, a question because I don’t know.

11 thoughts on “Mockingbird

  1. I was worried to read Go Set a Watchman too when it first came out. I heard that it paled in comparison to To Kill a Mockingbird.I once created a map of the neighborhood that Scout lived in. The tale grew on me. Maybe someday I will read it, but I’m not ready now.

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  2. Nelle and Truman had been friends since childhood, so they had any easy trust with each other for many years.

    Their situations in life were very similar in that for the most part both were raised in formative years without the influence of a mother.

    Both also embraced the traits they carried from the opposite sex and didn’t judge each other for that.

    Truman was a flouncy and femme gay man and Harper Lee was a very masculine leaning female.

    Was she actually a lesbian? I have no idea.

    But until Truman betrayed her, they were close friends of the highest order.

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    1. I know she helped on in Cold Blood. Capote’s early writing about his grandmother reminds me of Mockingbird. Things like this intrigue me. I don’t remember them having a falling out. I’ll have to look into that. I hadn’t thought about the lesbian thing. It doesn’t bother me. FYI, I worked on the Alabama Lt. Governor’s campaign. Met a lot of Washington insiders. They told me that Hillary is a lesbian. Everyone in D.C. knows. That I do believe. She and Bill formed a partnership back in college. Inquiring minds. Haha.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Margaret Mitchell! I’ve always thought a thesis comparing Mitchell and Harper Lee would be great! She was fascinating. I’ve re-read her biography about 10 times.

        She and Lee, separated by many years, had the same agent sell their book to Hollywood.

        Mitchell hated the agent and her publisher hid the fact that Annie was the agent.

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      2. Didn’t know that. I’m an anthology of GWTW. Mitchell demanded Gable. You know all that. I would love to read what she’d written when she got killed. That’s another thing that bothers me about Lee. One book for so long.

        Liked by 1 person

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