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Go Set a Watchman - Part VII (Chapters 18 and 19) 
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 Go Set a Watchman - Part VII (Chapters 18 and 19)
Go Set a Watchman - Part VII (Chapters 18 and 19)

Please use this thread to discuss Go Set a Watchman - Part VII (Chapters 18 and 19).



Tue Jul 28, 2015 6:37 pm
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Post Re: Go Set a Watchman - Part VII (Chapters 18 and 19)
Dearest Penelope,
I’m back from my grandson’s wedding and wonderful family time. I finished GSAW on the plane rides. I am posting on the last section because to post on the prior sections might indicate I thought the author was saying something important or saying what she said well. I simply cannot do that. I am an 82 year old no named no body geezer who has no right to say anything to anybody, nor does anyone have a reason to think that what I say is anything but gobbly gook. But here is what I think of GSAW:
1. The characters were never established as real people by the author. Dr. Finch came close but he was a B-.
2. All of the characters had Scout’s voice. She didn’t have the skill to give the characters their own voice. Read “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathanial Hawthorne.
3. The adage is “write what you know.” The author did not know her characters. The characters did not perform according to their personality to advance the story. The author kept injecting psycho babble to explain their actions and motivation, which in my opinion made a putrid argument for whatever the thesis statement was. What did Scout know about anything?
4. The author, attempting to correlate a 25 year old girl in 1954 to a coming of age over being deceived by her parents and society for her understanding of truth, with the human rights problems in America, was just too big a leap to make. Her slander of the NAACP is monstrous as anyone who has read Dr. King’s books and Thurgood Marshall’s works would certify.
5. I did find the statement Dr. Finch made that, “Less than 5% of white people owned slaves prior to the civil war” to be a statement I had never heard before. Neither have any of my Civil War experts that I’ve called.
6. I did find Dr. Finch’s statement as to why the men of the south fought, not for slavery, but for their way of life derived from the 18th Century heritage of independence, interesting and worthy of consideration.
7. The conclusion was a monstrous montage. In all my years I have never met a father who would tolerate a child, male or female, to talk to him as disrespectfully as Scout talked to Atticus. Most would have torn off her head and pissed down her throat.
8. All in all, I believe Harper Collins pulled a scam on the reading public by publishing this piece. Harper Lee probably wrote GSAW. It confirms to me she did not write “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
9. I won’t post anymore to this thread. I will respond to anyone who posts to this post.



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Post Re: Go Set a Watchman - Part VII (Chapters 18 and 19)
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Lawrence:
8. All in all, I believe Harper Collins pulled a scam on the reading public by publishing this piece. Harper Lee probably wrote GSAW. It confirms to me she did not write “To Kill a Mockingbird.”



If this is the case, isn't that kind of a good thing? Aside from the Harper Collins scam, with GSaW, we at least finally get the authentic voice of Harper Lee. Now I'll have to re-read Truman Capote, to attempt a comparison. Got a recommendation?



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Mon Aug 17, 2015 9:54 pm
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Post Re: Go Set a Watchman - Part VII (Chapters 18 and 19)
Truman Capote published over 130 books. I liked Breakfast at Tiffany's as an example of good writing and similar to TKAM as far as sensitive character development.



Tue Aug 18, 2015 7:58 am
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Post Re: Go Set a Watchman - Part VII (Chapters 18 and 19)
Lawrence wrote:
2. All of the characters had Scout’s voice. She didn’t have the skill to give the characters their own voice. Read “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathanial Hawthorne.
3. The adage is “write what you know.” The author did not know her characters. The characters did not perform according to their personality to advance the story. The author kept injecting psycho babble to explain their actions and motivation, which in my opinion made a putrid argument for whatever the thesis statement was. What did Scout know about anything?
4. The author, attempting to correlate a 25 year old girl in 1954 to a coming of age over being deceived by her parents and society for her understanding of truth, with the human rights problems in America, was just too big a leap to make. Her slander of the NAACP is monstrous as anyone who has read Dr. King’s books and Thurgood Marshall’s works would certify.


Well, I am only to Ch. 14 but I generally disagree with this quote, and would like to say a bit already.

First, I think they do have differentiated voices. Aunt Alexandra has her mannerisms, Calpurnia in flashbacks sounds genuine, the children in flashbacks sound like children, the man who serves ice cream and the ladies the coffee seem to me to be particularly finely defined. The most suspicious is Henry, the suitor of Jean Louise ("Scout"). But he has been a partner of Atticus Finch for years, and practically grew up as part of the family, so I did not find it troublesome that he has similar distance, cadences and ironies. If I went looking I think I would also find some pretty individual mannerisms and reticence points all his own.

Second, I think there is no slander of the NAACP. I think what we are hearing is the spin the white folks put on things, and we are meant to see through it. I actually think the presentation of how the whites see the world is the point. As far as I can tell, the only "story" for characters to advance is Scout's coming of age, realizing that she has been blind to the sub-surface reality of racism the whole time, because it was obscured by the gentility that is rupturing under pressure. Atticus Finch showed deference to everyone, but he was a real part of the system.

I am glad for the update. As many have remarked, TKAM was unrealistic in its heroism, and GSAW puts it in perspective. If Mockingbird was about innocence, Watchman is about community. We are used to recognizing that the cohesion brought by community is a neglected and declining aspect of individualized America, and so it is, but GSAW demonstrates that it has a dark side.



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Wed Aug 19, 2015 9:00 am
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Post Re: Go Set a Watchman - Part VII (Chapters 18 and 19)
Lawrence wrote:

Quote:
Dearest Penelope,
I’m back from my grandson’s wedding and wonderful family time. I finished GSAW on the plane rides. I am posting on the last section because to post on the prior sections might indicate I thought the author was saying something important or saying what she said well. I simply cannot do that. I am an 82 year old no named no body geezer who has no right to say anything to anybody, nor does anyone have a reason to think that what I say is anything but gobbly gook. But here is what I think of GSAW:


Dear Lawrence,

I don't think the book is about anything important.....not like TKAM.....but I thought it was about something 'interesting' which is 'human relationships'.

Lawrence - stoppit!!! You have every right to say what you think. I know that you are a thinking person and I for one respect your opinion, even though I don't agree with it. Anyway - just because some one is famous doesn't mean they have anything valuable to say. I'd rather listen and argue with you. xx

Quote:
1. The characters were never established as real people by the author. Dr. Finch came close but he was a B-.


This book was related completely from the grown-up Scout's point of view. She is initially an imature character because she idolises her father and trusts his opinions before forming her own. So Dr. Finch would seem unreal because the narrator has an unreal sense of him.

Quote:
2. All of the characters had Scout’s voice. She didn’t have the skill to give the characters their own voice. Read “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathanial Hawthorne.


This book is told in 'Scout's' voice purposely. i.e. All that drama when she thinks she is pregnant because a young boy gives her a grateful kiss for helping him with his school work. I don't know if it was meant to make you laugh.....It made me feel quite sad. However, it only related to the fact that she was a young girl brought up by one parent....her father...and he had omitted, understandably, to explain to her the facts of life.

Quote:
3. The adage is “write what you know.” The author did not know her characters. The characters did not perform according to their personality to advance the story. The author kept injecting psycho babble to explain their actions and motivation, which in my opinion made a putrid argument for whatever the thesis statement was. What did Scout know about anything?


She did write what she knew in that she knew what it felt like to be a a young girl being brought up by an admirable man in the deep south.....Lawrence, it is a novel about 'feelings'.......My husband can't understand why I am so interested in reading about peoples' feelings and emotions. I was a young girl brought up by an admirable woman on the Lancashire moors.....I could write about that.....but I wouldn't really know what it felt like to be a farmer's son or a farmer's wife....I could only describe my relationship to them.

Quote:
4. The author, attempting to correlate a 25 year old girl in 1954 to a coming of age over being deceived by her parents and society for her understanding of truth, with the human rights problems in America, was just too big a leap to make. Her slander of the NAACP is monstrous as anyone who has read Dr. King’s books and Thurgood Marshall’s works would certify.


She only felt she was deceived by one parent...her father. The book isn't about human rights....It is about a father/ daughter relationship.

Quote:
5. I did find the statement Dr. Finch made that, “Less than 5% of white people owned slaves prior to the civil war” to be a statement I had never heard before. Neither have any of my Civil War experts that I’ve called.


I missed this quote, but I know that when I was a little girl and threw a coin into a wishing well for a wish......All I ever wished for was for a serving maid. That is all I ever wanted......So if slavery had been around in Lancashire and I had been from a wealthy family....I would probably have delighted in having my own slave....Only realising the wrongness of it when I reached maturity.....and a sense of ethics. We do get a lot of our morals from the society in which we live. Is it called hegemony??

Quote:
7. The conclusion was a monstrous montage. In all my years I have never met a father who would tolerate a child, male or female, to talk to him as disrespectfully as Scout talked to Atticus. Most would have torn off her head and pissed down her throat.


Well, I never had much dealings with my father, but I see the passage as our own fury at the seeming indifference of the Lord God Almighty. That one we are taught to worship and adore......until we look at the cruelty in the world around us....until some of that cruelty affects us.....and then we are angry and want to hold forth. I used to not be able to speak....I used to go to church and....sulk. Well it would be no use in Scout sulking....she had to give Atticus a broadside.....he was like a God to her......but if she had just sulked...there would have been no story.

That Uncle got on my nerves.....giving her alcohol to calm her and then making excuses......and soothsaying.....but he had to be there.....part of the story.....to make excuses for 'God'.

Quote:
8. All in all, I believe Harper Collins pulled a scam on the reading public by publishing this piece. Harper Lee probably wrote GSAW. It confirms to me she did not write “To Kill a Mockingbird.”


Well, I enjoyed and was entertained by it. I think it is because I am a female and men don't generally like reading about 'feelings'. I'm thinking of Thomas Hardy's 'Jude the Obscure'......you just never got under the skin of the characters....Harper Lee must have writtent this when she was quite young. We are told TKAM was written later....and if Trueman Capote was her friend.....it is more than likely that she would be influenced by him....and emulate his writing style. If I wrote a book now at my advanced age....it would not compare in style to the me of the 1960's.....But that doesn't mean than either would be more valid than the other. Just written from a different perspective....and definitely with different concerns as to what matters.

Big (metaphoric) hugs....to Lawrence....from Pen. xxx


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Post Re: Go Set a Watchman - Part VII (Chapters 18 and 19)
Penelope,

I am not sure I agree with all of your interpretations of what is going on. In particular, I doubt that her coming to see the bad side of her idolized father is supposed to represent people's disillusionment with God, even though in the end she is pushed by Atticus and Dr. Finch to own her own values and not keep attributing them to her idol. Good theology says God pushes us in the same way, but for rather different reasons.

And if God stands for the values of the community, then in some larger sense we are learning that Atticus did have his own values, and wisely wanted Scout to have her own. His values were arrived at through his own thought processes, and even though some of them are easy to see as morally wrong, they strike a person as genuine and plausible. (The quality of "dialogue" in some of the passages in which the issues were debated, sort of, reminded me of Lawrence's criticism and I would agree that much of it was not genuine or plausible.)

I don't mind a good story on feelings, though I am male (oops, now I've told). I really like Fannie Flagg's stories, for example, such as Fried Green Tomatoes. Some of the anecdotes in GSAW were treasures, including the solution to the problem of the vindictive principal, but I really liked her feelings about alienation toward her aunt and the other women at the coffee. Harper Lee certainly does awkward well, and blends it well with superior.

Favorite story about feelings? That's a difficult one. Maybe "Our Father who art in the Tree" (I only saw the movie) or "Tender Mercies" (also movie) by Horton Foote of "The Trip to Bountiful" fame (talk about a story about feelings!) who, interestingly enough wrote the screenplay for To Kill A Mockingbird.



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Post Re: Go Set a Watchman - Part VII (Chapters 18 and 19)
Quote:
Harry wrote:

I am not sure I agree with all of your interpretations of what is going on. In particular, I doubt that her coming to see the bad side of her idolized father is supposed to represent people's disillusionment with God, even though in the end she is pushed by Atticus and Dr. Finch to own her own values and not keep attributing them to her idol. Good theology says God pushes us in the same way, but for rather different reasons.


This just shows that a work of art depends on what we bring to it ourselves. I did not have a father figure....but I was a bit peculiar as a child in that I always wanted a spiritual aspect to my life....My mum wasn't religious at all....but I just seem to have been born that way. Anyway....I always pictured God as my father figure.....well that is how Jesus told us to think of him. So I could relate to Scout in the book when she felt let down and angry when Atticus wasn't perfect.

Quote:
I doubt that her coming to see the bad side of her idolized father is supposed to represent people's disillusionment with God,


So you see, I know it isn't 'supposed' to represent everyone's disillusionment.....but that is how it affected me, personally.

What is Good Theology? To me, Good Theology is the acceptance that we don't know what or who we are or why. I meditate and pray, not so that I can know more than the next person.....but just so that I can feel comfortable in myself (soul?) that I am going in the right direction. I want to learn about spirituality......not so that I can know more....but so that I can feel I am achieving what I am meant to achieve. Going in the right direction, so to speak.

Well, it works enough to keep me at it. And I love reading Richard Dawkins......I devoured 'The God Delusion' with great relish but am just not able to live life without a spiritual dimension. So I keep buggering on, as Winston Churchill called it.

Is this off topic??? Probably! :blush:


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Post Re: Go Set a Watchman - Part VII (Chapters 18 and 19)
"I always pictured God as my father figure.....well that is how Jesus told us to think of him. So I could relate to Scout in the book when she felt let down and angry when Atticus wasn't perfect. ... So you see, I know it isn't 'supposed' to represent everyone's disillusionment.....but that is how it affected me, personally."

Well, that makes sense to me. I can see how that might be the effect on many people for various reasons. I would resist having it be automatically "the" interpretation though.

"What is Good Theology? To me, Good Theology is the acceptance that we don't know what or who we are or why. I meditate and pray, not so that I can know more than the next person.....but just so that I can feel comfortable in myself (soul?) that I am going in the right direction. I want to learn about spirituality......not so that I can know more....but so that I can feel I am achieving what I am meant to achieve."

Sounds like a good orientation for theology. I think bad theology emphasizes God's judgmentalism and the appeasement of it by groveling and self-abasement. Good theology takes God to be cultivating our capacity to feel for others and to include the needs of others among our priorities. Out of love for us, because we will have better lives that way.

Dawkins? As an indictment of traditional religion and its ineptitude with scientific issues, it certainly makes valid points. I cannot imagine saying that I "love" "God Delusion" or even relish it. I thought through all that for my own reasons a decade before, or more, so it was neither interesting and new, for me, nor at all balanced. Basically we had Stephen Jay Gould in the house growing up, along with church 2 or 3 times a week, and so I never saw the reason for Dawkins' anger and disgust.



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Thu Aug 20, 2015 2:38 pm
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Post Re: Go Set a Watchman - Part VII (Chapters 18 and 19)
Wow! Ms. Penny and Harry have jumped the fence on me. I love it. xx back at you Penny. I can't believe you were a Stephen Jay Gould fellow Harry. I thought he was great also, but I can't remember what he wrote. It took me 60 years to come of age so I was plenty angry with God, Society, government, Education, and organized religion. I don't think I'm angry now but it took me many years to get over being deceived and I do resent the deception robbed me of my chance at the life I might have become. I don't know why God has made knowing him/her such a guessing game. There are over 2,800 organized religions that purport to know the REAL GOD and what that god wants of us humans. I'm not smart enough to understand what each of them believe nor to discern if any of them is the real McCoy. If there is a god, and he punishes me for making the wrong choice, he is too cruel and I don't want him/her to be my god. If he didn't make me smart enough to know who he/she is that is his problem, not mine. Dawkins, is barking at the wrong tree, but he is getting people thinking and talking. Something I have been unable to do.

Penny, you have done a splendid job of making this post an interesting read for Book Talk members. That you enjoyed GSAW just shows why god made strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla ice cream. There is simply too much variety in the human condition to be forced into one ideology or perspective. Best wishes, L



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Post Re: Go Set a Watchman - Part VII (Chapters 18 and 19)
Dear Ms. Penny,
I apologize that my posts seem to shut down comments. It has happened several times and it grieves me terribly. I do not know how or why my thoughts turn folks off but it seems to me they do. I hope you do not take it personally. Remember, "There'll be blue birds over the White Cliffs of Dover, Tomorrow, just you wait and see. There will be love and laughter and peace ever after, just you wait and see." It is unfortunate the human nature has not allowed the promise of that song to be fulfilled in our life time, but maybe soon, I hope. xx Lawrence



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Post Re: Go Set a Watchman - Part VII (Chapters 18 and 19)
Oh Lawrence, it isn't your posts. I have thought that about my posts. I thought my posts stopped threads....ha ha. I guess some trains of. Thought make your brain hurt.

I'm waiting for some one to start criticising the character of the uncle. He really got on my bloomin nerves. I can't wait to tear him to shreds, the silly complacent old wuss!!!'


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Post Re: Go Set a Watchman - Part VII (Chapters 18 and 19)
Tear away my good friend. Dr. Finch to me was a shill.(in American gambling terms a person, male or female, paid by the house to gamble with company money to get others to come to the table to gamble) I thought his love affair with Atticus's wife was a sham. It created a false affection for Scout and her brother. I never made a connection on why he developed a skill with 18th Century religion other than to tie it in to the reason for southern men fighting in the civil war. Well that is a legitimate start for your post. L



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Post Re: Go Set a Watchman - Part VII (Chapters 18 and 19)
Lawrence wrote:
I apologize that my posts seem to shut down comments.


Penny is right. There is no problem with your posts. Those of us who try to stimulate with provocative positions may need to be a little careful, but interesting questions almost always draw interesting responses.

I would like to hear more about conventionality. When a group of ladies sits in a circle and holds forth on whatever topics are going the rounds, is this a bad thing, to be critiqued by those of us who want a New York City level of stimulation? Or is it a good thing, creating social cohesion?

Is there some way to improve the mix, and get both goals right?

I thought Lee's passages with stream of consciousness overhearing of the ladies were hilarious, by the way. I wish I had thought of it.



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Post Re: Go Set a Watchman - Part VII (Chapters 18 and 19)
Penelope wrote:

I'm waiting for some one to start criticising the character of the uncle. He really got on my bloomin nerves.


Well, I agree with Lawrence that Dr. Finch is conveniently unrealistic. He serves a couple of roles - getting Jean Louise to work through the ideas involved in resistance to the Supreme Court (but his comparison to feudalism was far too abstract), and exemplifying the educated gentry in the provinces, who failed to really engage and critique. They acted like the gradual effect of ideas would bring everything round right, in obvious contradiction to the facts of economic oppression and poor educational opportunities for black Americans.

I didn't find the dialogue realistic in which he and Atticus supposedly conveyed "you need to think for yourself", (presumably being portrayed as being "acted out" by actually striking her.) But it certainly piqued my interest in that aspect of her process.



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