July 12, 2015

Watchman angst (spoilers)

All over Facebook today the question is "Will you read Go Set A Watchman? so I sat down to answer twenty of my friends asking the question and decided to answer it here instead.

Yes.  Yes, I will read Go Set a Watchman.

I have heard answers that range from my enthusiastic YES.  To NO NEVER, EVER, EVER.  In almost every case the latter is explained that they don't want to know that (spoiler here) Atticus was a racist.  They say it would "spoil" Mockingbird for them or that it just wasn't right.

Now I know that lotsa people don't like change and certainly having your mind changed about someone is very hard.  But I don't think that gaining a better understanding of a man and his time is a bad thing.  To me finding out that Atticus is a racist is an interesting placement of the man in his profession.  That he can be a racist and yet still believe in the law and justice for everyone is not necessarily inconceivable for the time in which he lived.

Now, stop there a moment. I am not condoning racism or anything that happened with regards to the vile persecution of people of color.  What I am saying is that there must be, and I must believe that there is as a Christian Buddhist, a spark of the divine in everyone.  Sometimes that spark only manifests itself in an individual's love for a single thing.  Sometimes a person radiates love for the whole world.

In Mockingbird we were set up to believe that Atticus was a saint, the best, someone we could have to dinner without fear of a bad discussion at the table.  In Watchman we find out not so much.  Does that ruin my life?  I don't think so.

It's a book, people. A work of literary fiction.

Read it.  Find out what life is really like.  So another childhood dream bites the dust.  Adulthood is for finding out all about reality.  Adulthood is for changing, for learning forgiveness.

Adulthood is for creating new realities.

It's just a book, people.  Summer reading.

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