Go Set a Watchman1
As mentioned before, Go Set a Watchman was famously touted as being the ‘long-awaited’ follow-up to Mockingbird. It also generated some rather tepid controversy when it was ‘shockingly’ revealed that the book depicted Atticus as a racist this time around. The result was about three days’ worth of discussion from Al Sharptons-in-training, rabbis, Morris Dees, and various other talking heads on CNN and MSNBC’s morning shows, but nothing further.
Let me assure you that both these claims are utterly false. Watchman was actually written about five years prior to the publication of Mockingbird and very obviously served as the first draft of that novel, with passages being repeated verbatim in both books and inconsistencies in plot and characterization being rife in the second. But don’t worry: Atticus is still presented as the same old lovably stentorian and pretentious slab of granite we were presented with in the original. First drafts don’t make the bestseller lists, though, so both angles were fraudulently played up by HarperCollins. Such sleazy marketing ploys demonstrate amply the need to support small independent publishers who are not averse to releasing genuinely controversial and thought-provoking material. But again, I digress.
Even if we treat this novel as a standalone work, though, it isn’t anywhere near being a literary ‘landmark’, as the blurb on the dust jacket tells us. To put it succinctly: Go Set a Watchman is one lame read. It apes the structure of Mockingbird, presenting us with a series of recollected childhood episodes from Scout’s past, mostly of a lightly comical nature, wrapped around a more serious racially-tinged main plot. However, this time around it isn’t even complex enough to qualify as effective propaganda. It reads like an extended short story, complete with one of that format’s most irritating qualities: a Deus ex machina of an ending. Lee wasn’t too eager to have Deus anywhere around her machina though, as we shall see.
The main plot: it’s twenty years after the events of Mockingbird, in the mid-50s. A twenty-six-year-old Scout (called ‘Jean Louise’ throughout – the novel thankfully drops the cutesy Southern name motif) returns to Maycomb from her New York home for a visit to Atticus, who is now in his seventies and ailing. She reestablishes ties with her old boyfriend Henry ‘Hank’ Clinton and starts to consider (none too seriously) marrying him. However, she is distraught to find out that both he and Atticus are members of the Maycomb County Citizens’ Council, a racist states’ rights organization. This revelation throws her into paroxysms of rage and nearly leads to a nervous breakdown, but after a firm talk from her uncle Jack Finch and a confrontation with Atticus where he explains his reasons for belonging to this group, she is reconciled with her father. Also, she rejects Hank’s advances for good. The end.
Upon this flimsy structure is hung a good deal of detail that is completely alien to readers of the original novel. At the end of Mockingbird we were well convinced that Scout was just rarin’ to go getting blacks registered in Maycomb County and running for lieutenant governor of Alabama at least just as soon as she was of age. Here, her history in New York is not explored in detail, but it is hinted that she lives a life somewhere in between a Greenwich Village beatnik and one of the secretaries on Mad Men. ‘Hank Clinton’ is described as her lifelong boyhood friend who she’s always had a crush on, yet he shows up nowhere in Mockingbird. We are also told, quixotically, “Love whom you will but marry your own kind was a dictum amounting to instinct within her.”2 Really? After a lifetime of Atticus’s polemics, plus a long stint in egalitarian New York, this is instinctual with her? Hank does come from a broken home, though, thus keeping up a consistent theme with Mockingbird on that front at least. Upon reaching home, Atticus and Alexandra both call Scout ‘sweet’3 and Alexandra calls her ‘hon’4 – again, not likely in such a coldly proper family where the slightest grin from any member is considered pregnant with meaning. Scout is also able to say such sophisticated things to Alexandra as “Aunty, why don’t you go pee in your hat?”5 without the old lady slapping her in indignation. This, despite the fact that Alexandra is frequently described as ‘the last of her kind’6 in reference to her Southern matronly ways – which must be true, as she does not display anywhere near this amount of latitude in Mockingbird! ‘Levy’, the heroic Jewish milliner from the first novel, is here called ‘Ginsberg’.7 Atticus’s legal career is described as consisting of very little criminal law, but one of the few times he did take on a criminal case, Tom’s, he won his client’s acquittal.8 Underwood, the agnostic editor of the original, herein is a devout Christian who is mortally offended by a woman who wants to post an obituary of a cow in his paper.9 You get the picture. This is not a sequel.
Scout’s character, though, perhaps represents the most radical departure from Mockingbird. In the original, you will recollect that her rabid egalitarianism was aided and abetted by an underlying statist streak. Here, that egalitarianism is just as odious – but she seems to have morphed into a states’ rights advocate herself in the interim. HUH?! But ’tis true! The following passage even directly avers that it is so:
Maycomb did not have a paved street until 1935, courtesy of F.D. Roosevelt, and even then it was not exactly a street that was paved. For some reason the President decided that a clearing from the front door of the Maycomb Grammar School to the connecting two ruts adjoining the school property was in need of improvement, it was improved accordingly, resulting in skinned knees and cracked crania for the children and a proclamation from the principal that nobody was to play Pop-the-Whip on the pavement. Thus the seeds of states’ rights were sown in the hearts of Jean Louise’s generation.10
Sure, the passage is written with tongue planted firmly in cheek. But one page over, when Hank notices Scout isn’t thrilled about Maycomb’s postwar gaudy character, she describes her reaction as ‘Conservative reaction to change, that’s all.’11 And towards the novel’s climax, during Scout’s final confrontation with Atticus, she expresses her indignation of the Supreme Court’s violation of the Tenth Amendment in ushering in federal desegregation statutes with these words:
“…all we have is the Constitution between us and anything some smart fellow wants to start, and there went the Court just breezily canceling one whole amendment, it seemed to me. We have a system of checks and balances and things, but when it comes down to it we don’t have much check on the Court, so who’ll bell the cat?”12
To which Atticus responds, “Sweet, you’re such a states’ rightist you make me a Roosevelt Liberal by comparison.”13 Which is precisely how Atticus was depicted in Book #1, but…oh, never mind. Suffice it to say that in other respects, Scout resembles the lady we suspected she’d grow up to be. Her feminist streak is fully developed, for one thing – she drops rather crude comments to Alexandra when the latter criticizes her dress (“Maycomb knows I didn’t wear anything but overalls till I started having the Curse…”14). Likewise, during a ‘coffee’ that Alexandra puts on in Scout’s honor so she can reconnect with her old hometown friends, Scout is repelled by the small talk about children and housekeeping that is prevalent amongst the group – Lee expresses this repugnance by recording snippets of unrelated conversation at random – and begins to have serious second thoughts about marrying Hank on those grounds alone.15 She has also developed into a functional agnostic or, at best, a willful Bible illiterate. She has trouble differentiating between Jacob and Israel in one passage.16 In another, she seems to suggest a growing agnosticism in describing the ‘discrepancy’ between Maycomb’s racist and Christian characters:
“Why doesn’t their flesh creep? How can they devoutly believe everything they hear in church and then say the things they do and listen to the things they hear without throwing up? I thought I was a Christian but I’m not. I’m something else and I don’t know what. Everything I have ever taken for right and wrong these people have taught me – these same, these very people. So it’s me, it’s not them. Something has happened to me.”17
Something indeed has happened to you, little miss – you have become the prototype of what in the far-off future will be described as a ‘cuckservative’. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the release of Watchman coincided with that term’s introduction among the traditional Christian right.
Other than her Trotskyite racial notions, another aspect of Scout’s character remains unchanged from Mockingbird: her elitist attitude towards working-class and agrarian whites. This, of course, is the demographic that Lee herself believes most likely to engage in prurient prejudice towards blacks to such an extent that its malevolent influence will waft upwards and taint the Quality, rather than the other way around. All of Watchman’s female characters and most of its male ones display this characteristic. Witness Alexandra’s description of Hank:
“We Finches do not marry the children of rednecked white trash, which is exactly what Henry’s parents were when they were born and were all their lives. You can’t call them anything better. The only reason Henry’s like he is now is because your father took him in hand when he was a boy, and because the war came along and paid for his education. Fine a boy as he is, the trash won’t wash out of him.”18
She then proceeds to line out precisely how Hank is scheming to take everything the messianic Atticus has for his own. These are not the mere ramblings of a lady whom time has passed by, either. Nowhere in the novel is Hank presented in an especially sympathetic light.
Alexandra consistently displays considerably more aristocratic disdain towards poor whites than she ever does towards blacks, and this trait has metamorphosed into a more liberal strain within Scout, as demonstrated by her explanation of her core tenets during her coffee:
“You will not believe me, but I will tell you: never in my life until today did I hear the word ‘nigger’ spoken by a member of my family. [Inconsistency: Jem uses the word in Mockingbird. – CM] Never did I learn to think in terms of The Niggers…They were poor, they were diseased and dirty, some were lazy and shiftless, but never in my life was I given the idea that I should despise one, should fear one, should be discourteous to one, or think that I could mistreat one and get away with it…I was taught never to take advantage of anybody who was less fortunate than myself, whether he be less fortunate in brains, wealth, or social position; it meant anybody, not just Negroes. I was given to understand that the reverse was to be despised. That is the way I was raised, by a black woman and a white man.”19
This is the kind of high-minded tolerance that eventually leads to the creation of mass social engineering disguised as philanthropy once one has amassed sufficient resources. Scout addresses these thoughts towards her acquaintance Hester, a bubblehead who reads Good Housekeeping, talks about dumb, cause-crimping things like children, and voices allegedly wrong-headed opinions on communism and the goal of the NAACP to create a new race of easily-controlled mongrels. She represents the tumor wrought among the aristocracy by the racist redneck rampage from below, if we are to accept Lee’s hypothesis.
Thus, the class consciousness of Mockingbird is presented here in an even more condescending light. Which brings up another interesting inconsistency: despite the fact that Watchman contains numerous flashbacks to Scout’s childhood, not once is Boo Radley mentioned, despite the major role he played in Scout’s transformation in the first novel. Given his symbolic meaning as the complacent poor white whom the New South was obligated to take by the hand and lead, it seems that Lee chose to tone down her near-Rockefellerian outlook on the South’s yeomanry in order to make her masterpiece more potable to the public as a whole.
Her snobbishness still does not extend towards her black charges, though. A key example of this occurs when the son of Zeebo, Calpurnia’s son, runs over and kills a white man while drunk, which reduces the old maid to a state of near-catatonia. Making this all the more tragic is that Frank, the grandson, has been on the waiting list to the Tuskegee Institute.20 Arriving at Calpurnia’s house (where we learn that foxy ol’ Zeebo has been divorced at least five times, a fact that causes considerably less revulsion in Scout than the Ewells’ large brood of children in book #121), she is shocked to discover that Calpurnia treats her in a cold and aloof manner. This prompts Scout to ask her in a pathetically mewling tone whether she hated the entire Finch clan all these years. She magnanimously shakes her head no, after taking a seeming eternity to think about it. This causes Scout to run back to her car and lament bitterly about her white state of being and how that fact alone played no small part in creating Maycomb’s racial tensions.22 Sorely misguided as these feeble attempts at self-recrimination and reflection are, they represent far more than Scout has been shown willing to employ in favor of her own volk.
And what of Atticus? Has he developed racial consciousness in his old age, as the talking heads seemed to suggest? This constitutes the major plot line of the book. It begins with Scout finding a copy of a pamphlet entitled The Black Plague in Atticus’s study one afternoon. Barely being able to bring herself to touch it, she presents it to Alexandra and snippily declaims its contents – black skulls being thicker than white skulls and their ‘brain-pans’ shallower, all world rulers being white since time immemorial and who have a duty to dominate blacks and Jews, and things of that nature.23 Learning that this pamphlet has been distributed by the Maycomb County Citizens’ Council, and that Atticus and Hank are both at a meeting of that body at precisely that time, Scout rushes over there to make a horse’s ass of herself, as demonstrated by this sanctimonious stream-of-consciousness inner monologue regarding the meeting’s denizens:
…a familiar story: same people who were the Invisible Empire, who hated Catholics; ignorant, fear-ridden, red-faced, boorish, law-abiding, one hundred per cent red-blooded Anglo-Saxons, her fellow Americans – trash.24
Why did she bother coming home, again? Was there a freedom march being arranged by Maycomb’s wealthiest citizens or something? At any rate, she bumbles into the midst of a diatribe being given by a red-faced, boorish, law-abiding, one hundred per cent red-blooded Celtic cad named O’Hanlon who earns her instant disapprobation by declaring that he has dedicated his life to upholding segregation. His speech is presented in the same broken phraseology as the ladies’ conversation during the coffee, and is fairly (if inadvertently) amusing. A sample:
…a race as hammerheaded as…essential inferiority…kinky woolly heads…still in the trees…greasy smelly…marry your daughters…mongrelize the race…mongrelize…mongrelize…save the South…Black Monday…lower than cockroaches…God made the races…nobody knows why but He intended for ‘em to stay apart…if He hadn’t He’d’ve made us all one color…back to Africa…25
This patter goes on for several more paragraphs and completely destroys whatever bonds the not-overly-emotionally-stable-to-begin-with Scout ever had with her father for his attendance there. The remainder of the novel consists of a dull slog through her feelings of despair, peppered with random flashbacks to the good ol’ days when her anxiety attacks didn’t get the better of her. Also, peppered, naturally, with insufferable speechifying such as this gem:
“I wonder what would happen if the South had a ‘Be Kind to the Niggers Week’? If just for one week the South would show them some simple, impartial courtesy. I wonder what would happen. Do you think it’d give ‘em airs or the beginnings of self-respect? Have you ever been snubbed, Atticus? Do you know how it feels? No, don’t tell me they’re children and don’t feel it: I was a child and felt it, so grown children must feel, too. A real good snub, Atticus, makes you feel like you’re too nasty to associate with people. How they’re as good as they are now is a mystery to me, after a hundred years of systematic denial that they’re human. I wonder what kind of miracle we could work with a week’s decency.”26
At the novel’s conclusion, though, just as we suspect she’s getting ready to shimmy up all of Maycomb’s flagpoles naked in order to rip down Confederate flags, Atticus finally reveals his reasons for belonging to this group. He is doing so only to stand in solidarity with his town against the Supreme Court and the NAACP. He then proceeds to paint a picture of himself entirely at odds with what we were presented with in Mockingbird, saying that blacks are too enfeebled to be able to build a civilization themselves and might always be that way, that the Court’s decision would result in a second Reconstruction, likely with Zeebo being elected mayor of Maycomb due to the preponderance of the black vote, and that the Court is out to destroy the South, not merely to slip around the Tenth Amendment.27 He even has the temerity to refer to himself as a ‘Jeffersonian Democrat’ at one point!28 Scout can only parley this onslaught with weak, whiny rejoinders about how ‘something must be done!’ and even grudgingly admits her fellow hatred of the Court’s decision, as mentioned above. Atticus does concede that he finds the group’s race-baiting odious, but resignedly goes along with it because life is not ideal. He has done this before – earlier, Hank dropped this most implausible of all bombshells in our laps:
“A long time ago the Klan was respectable, like the Masons. Almost every man of any prominence was a member, back when Mr. Finch was young. Did you know Mr. Finch joined?…Mr. Finch has no more use for the Klan than anybody, and didn’t then. You know why he joined? To find out exactly what men in town were behind the masks. What men, what people. He went to one meeting, and that was enough. The Wizard happened to be the Methodist preacher – “29
So there it is. Atticus joins white heritage groups so he can spy on their members and keep running dossiers on them. How can he get away with this in a close-knit, insular community such as Maycomb? Oh, right, because whites of humble station are only autistic children blinded by malevolence and would never pick up on his machinations. At least that’s a consistent theme between the two books.
Scout still isn’t convinced by Atticus’s explanation and begins to call him a coward and a hypocrite. This goes on interminably until Uncle Jack Finch shows up to set the record straight once and for all.
And now, a word about Jack, as he is, far and away, the most interesting thing about the entire novel. In Mockingbird he played a role as a relatively minor character – the easygoing, party-loving MD younger brother of Atticus. Needless to say, his character is entirely different in Watchman. He’s still an MD but is of a considerably more serious and thoughtful (albeit sarcastic) persona here. His demeanor is now decidedly more intellectual and philosophical, with a decidedly Southern nationalist bend. Not a trace, no not one, of modernism is to be found anywhere on his person. I would go so far as to say that Lee has presented us with a close approximation of a Kinist here. The publishers of Watchman, observing his decidedly Victorian airs, might have played him up in order to appeal to the ‘steampunk’ audience but apparently decided against doing so.
Jack’s first big scene comes during a service at Maycomb Southern Methodist Church (okay, he’s not quite a Kinist) when Scout simmers in resentment over the liberal pastor’s decision to ‘jazz up’ the singing of the Doxology, fearing that this heralds a return to Anglicanism. (Not to beat a dead horse, but, again, is this the character to whom we were introduced in Mockingbird?) Dr. Finch takes up her cause and complains about the changes to Jemson, the church’s music director. Jemson makes mention of the fact that these changes were sent on high from the General Conference, prompting Dr. Finch to growl in disgust, ‘Apparently our brethren in the Northland are not content merely with the Supreme Court’s activities. They are now trying to change our hymns on us.”30 He then goes on to predict soon they’ll all be restricted to singing Yankee hymns like ‘Onward, Christian Soldiers’.31 Hey, I like this guy!
This church episode, too, provides us with the book’s title, taken from Isaiah 21:6: “For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.”32
The novel’s high point involves Scout’s visit to Jack’s house in order to pick his brain over what is wrong with Atticus, and Maycomb in general, and the South even more in general. His response is a sociopolitical defense of Dixie that, with a touch more theological trimming, could easily pass for Dabney. He opens his treatise thus:
“…all over the South your father and men like your father are fighting a sort of rearguard, delaying action to preserve a certain kind of philosophy that’s almost gone down the drain.”33
Which would pique the interest of any Kinist worthy of the name. He then goes on to note the close ties of kinship and ‘near-kinship’ that exist throughout Maycomb County. When Scout expresses confusion over what this has to do with her concerns, Jack snaps that that’s because she has ‘never opened her eyes’ – an expression that startles her and drives home the point that she is supposed to be the Watchman of the title, but has been derelict in her duty. This motif is referenced several times during the course of the novel, with the most notable example being when Scout piteously avows that she was ‘born color-blind’ at the end of Part III.34
Jack continues in a strongly Kinist vein:
“In the 1770s, where did the white-hot words come from?”
“Virginia,” said Jean-Louise, confidently.
“And in the 1940s, before we got into it, what made every Southerner read his newspaper and listen to newscasts with a special kind of horror? Tribal feelin’, honey, at the bottom of it. They might be sons of bitches, the British, but they were our sons of bitches…”
“Go back to the early 1800s in England, before some pervert invented machinery. What was life there?…it was mainly an agricultural society, with a handful of landowners and multitudes of tenants. Now, what was the South before the War?”
“An agricultural society with a handful of large landowners, multitudes of dirt farmers, and slaves.”
“Correct. Leave the slaves out of it for a while, and what do you have? Your Wade Hamptons by the scores, and your small landowners and tenants by the thousands. The South was a little England in its heritage and social structure.”35
Jack points out that it was this strong sense of cultural identity that made the Confederate army a powerhouse when most of its members had never so much as seen a slave:
“Has it never occurred to you…that this territory was a separate nation? No matter what its political bonds, a nation with its own people, existing within a nation? A society highly paradoxical, with alarming inequities, but with the private honor of thousands of persons winking like lightning bugs through the night? No war was ever fought for so many different reasons meeting in one reason clear as crystal. They fought to preserve their identity. Their political identity, their personal identity.”36
And it is the descendants of that self-same army that now face a new shibboleth – one that seems a hopeless battle, enough so that Jack prays, “It’ll be a comparatively bloodless Reconstruction this time.”37 To wit:
“Look at the rest of the country. It’s long since gone by the South in its thinking. The time-honored, common-law concept of property – a man’s interest in and duties to that property – has become almost extinct. People’s attitudes toward the duties of a government have changed. The have-nots have risen and have demanded and received their due – sometimes more than their due. The haves are restricted from getting more. You are protected from the winter winds of old age, not by yourself voluntarily, but by a government that says we do not trust you to provide for yourself, therefore we will make you save. All kinds of strange little things like that have become part and parcel of this country’s government. America’s a brave new Atomic world and the South’s just beginning its Industrial Revolution.”38
And the danger is especially potent towards Scout’s deluded generation, whom Jack calls ‘the apples of the Federal Government’s eye.’39 Sounds like a regular firebrand, doesn’t he? Will he follow through with some good old Rebel advice on how to fight Leviathan? Is this the man we’ve long been waiting for to shut Little Miss Priss’s negro-loving yap for good?
Nope. Are you kidding? This is a Harper Lee novel we’re reading, after all! All he can offer is one gigantic metaphorical resigned shrug:
“Human birth is most unpleasant. It’s messy, it’s extremely painful, sometimes it’s a risky thing. It is always bloody. So it is with civilization. The South’s in its last agonizing birth pain. It’s bringing forth something new and I’m not sure I like it, but I won’t be here to see it. You will. Men like me and my brother are obsolete and we’ve got to go, but it’s a pity we’ll carry with us the meaningful things of this society – there were some good things in it.”40
A eulogy rather than a battle-cry. Talk about anticlimactic. Worse still, it doesn’t silence the increasingly obnoxious Scout, who immediately begins complaining about this ‘diversion’ into stodgy old irrelevance and demands answers to her questions. They aren’t forthcoming. That must wait until the story’s end, to which we must now return.
Dr. Finch slaps Scout when she reverts to hysterics again41 – an act which repels him but produces a sigh of relief from the non-liberal readership. He then proceeds to get her drunk on extract so that he can engage in a little Freudian tapping of her gray matter, eventually ensuring her that despite her emotional retardation in regards to her obsessions with Atticus, she is ‘her own person’ who is capable of overlooking shortcomings in those closest to her. In so doing, he offers these words, which serve as the novel’s moral (and is also quoted verbatim on the back of the cover):
“Every man’s island, Jean Louise, every man’s watchman, is his conscience. There is no such thing as a collective conscience.”42
(Also cribbed by Lee for use by Atticus in Mockingbird.)
This is, of course, utter nonsense and completely contradicts his earlier Confederate analyses – how can one fight so ferociously for an ‘identity’ that is a mere chimera? For that matter, how could God chastise the congregation of Israel as a whole if ‘individual conscience’ is the only reality? But this represents the logical end of Scout’s (and, by extension, Lee’s) fraudulent brand of ‘con’servativism, where all collectivism, including familial, societal, and cultural units, are decreed shams and all that is present is the atomized individual. (Jack’s mention of America entering the Atomic age can thus be read as a pun.) This, too, was demonstrated earlier when Scout explained why she chose to live in New York:
“In New York you are your own person. You may reach out and embrace all of Manhattan in sweet aloneness, or you can go to hell if you want to.”43
Now that her eyes have been opened and she realizes she can continue her existential angst in Maycomb, too, she begins to heed the advice given her throughout the novel and considers moving back to the ol’ homestead. She makes her reconciliation with Atticus…but, tellingly, not with Hank. She uses his lack of purity of motive in attending the meeting as a convenient excuse, but in actuality because she fears losing her own identity within the ‘constrictions’ of a marriage, as she told him earlier.44 It might be a stretch to suggest that we have the makings of a proud lesbian in Scout at this point, but it is certainly true she has a plethora of single women in Maycomb from whom to choose.
Thus we close the Saga of the Finches on the final lesson Scout has gleaned:
Dear goodness, the things I learned. I did not want my world disturbed, but I wanted to crush the man who’s trying to preserve it for me. I wanted to stamp out all the people like him. I guess it’s like an airplane: they’re the drag and we’re the thrust, together we make the thing fly. Too much of us and we’re nose-heavy, too much of them and we’re tail-heavy – it’s a matter of balance. I can’t beat him, and I can’t join him…45
…but if 9/11 taught us anything, it’s that there is a time to take down the plane in order to meet your ends, Scout. Always remember, though: timing. Timing is everything.
With that, we have reached the end of our perusal of the Complete and Unabridged Canon of Harper Lee. A mixture of Karl Marx and Herbert Marcuse placed in a box of Faulkner Lite and wrapped in nostalgic hues of sepia so that it looks appealing to the kiddies underneath the Christmas tree. It would perhaps be unchivalrous to heap anathemas upon Miss Lee’s head now that she is suffering from the ravages of Alzheimer’s. We can only pray that she repented herself of these abominable works decades ago. God knows the heart, either way.
The truly disheartening thing is how many white Christians have embraced To Kill a Mockingbird in particular as a Christian novel, simply on the basis of its depiction of noble churchgoing blacks, kind children, and a ‘wise’ father, all sprinkled with garbled and vaguely biblical subtext and allegory in an attempt to present this work as something it most decidedly is not. Yet how many pastors have quoted the book’s text verbatim from the pulpit? How many vacuous celebrity ‘Christians’ have named this their totally, like, favorite read ever? How many homeschool curriculums include this book on their English text lists?
If you want to read a novel that accurately depicts racial relations between blacks and whites, you’d be far better off reading George MacDonald Fraser’s Flash for Freedom! instead.
- All quotes are taken from the HarperCollins hardcover edition, 2015. ↩
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