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    ‘Go Set A Watchman’ By Harper Lee & The Controversy Around It

    By

    July 14, 2015

    If anyone asks me to list down 10 books which are a must read, for me, To Kill A Mockingbird would top the list. It has been read, loved and revered by pretty much most of us.
    I’m not someone who is very fond of books, but this is one book I can read again and again and still feel equally exuberant.

    To Kill A Mockingbird did not fail to awe any of its readers, and soon after its publication it became an immediate best-seller and won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1961.

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    And now, after 60 years, Harper Lee is all set to flabbergast us with her sequel ‘Go Set a Watchman’ which is releasing on the 14th of July.

    About ‘Go Set a Watchman’ –

    Now, the fact which is leaving everyone astonished is that this yet to be released book was written much before To Kill A Mockingbird. However, it was never released. And if all that is true, Lee knew about this sequel every single day for the last sixty years, but chose not to publish it.

    Initially, Harper Lee had no plans of releasing this book. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Lee was asked why she never wrote another book after the award-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird, to this, she responded, “Honey, because I said everything I wanted to say.”

    Turns out, Lee was quick enough to change her mind.

    The manuscript of this book was kept guardedly by Harper’s sister Alice, who acted as the writer’s lawyer. But soon after Alice’s death, this manuscript was discovered by Tonja Carter who was Alice’s colleague and Harper’s lawyer since Alice’s death.

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    The ‘Revealed’ Plot –

    The plot revealed by the New York Times in its review is going to leave everyone’s hearts broken.
    We all remember Atticus Finch as the worthy lawyer from To Kill a Mockingbird, But in this sequel Atticus is portrayed as a sick old man who is a racist and once attended a Ku Klux Klan meeting.

    Heart wrenching, right?

    Honestly, as a lover of this book, the character of Atticus Finch is what made me so fond of this book. And now, I feel so shattered even thinking about my favourite character turning into someone exactly opposite.

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    Well, not only this, the other big surprise is that the flashback sequences reveal that in this version Tom Robinson is acquitted of raping a white woman instead of being found guilty as in Mockingbird.

    However, To Kill A Mockingbird’s fan following is not the only reason which has brought this sequel into limelight, there are a few controversies which have surrounded this book.

    The Controversies –

    • Tonja Carter who discovered the manuscript of Go Set A Watchman was surrounded by allegations that the 88-year old author was pressurised into publishing this novel against her wish.
    • Another controversy is that, New York Times has broken an international embargo by revealing the plot of the yet to be released in a review by Michiko Kakutani.
      And now, New York Times has to pay for the damages and for the international embargo that it has broken.

     

    Well, revealing the plot was not only an unethical move by New York Times but also very unfair as it has not only broken the embargo but also made the fans lukewarm about the sequel.

    When I first heard about the sequel being launched, my excitement was at its peak, but soon when I read the New York Times’ review and got to know about the plot, all my interest faded and vanished away. And the worst thing is, it is happening with the most of us.

    While the reviews of this yet to be released sequel of To Kill A Mockingbird are pretty impressive, but still many fans are not delighted to see Atticus portrayed as a racist.

    Some have even said that they are no more interested in buying the book and some have refused to read it.

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    Waves of anguish and disapproval were set free soon after the plot was revealed by reviewers who were sent advanced copies.

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    When I first read To Kill A Mockingbird, my first thoughts were “Oh my god, I wish this book has a sequel too!”. Well, who knew that the sequel would be so heart breaking.

    Nevertheless, this book has managed to be the most preordered book in its publisher’s history.

    Will it be as captivating as the first book? Buy your copy to find out! We will too.

    Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.

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