Say it isn't so! Atticus Finch, the hero of Harper Lee's classic 1960s novel To Kill a Mockingbird, has some disturbing character traits in the author's highly anticipated follow-up, Go Set a Watchman.
The southern lawyer, who defended a black man in a rape trial in the original, quickly became a hero and role model to many who read the beloved novel. But in Go Set a Watchman, which is set several decades later, a 26-year-old Scout (now Jean Louise) returns home to Alabama and has to deal with the realization that her father and boyfriend are racists.
Atticus attends a Klan meeting and fights against segregation. He is quoted as saying, "The Negroes down here are still in their childhood as a people."
At one point he even asks his daughter, "Do you want Negroes by the carload in our schools and churches and theaters? Do you want them in our world?"
Naturally, fans of the original, and Atticus by extension, took to Twitter to express both their dismay and their apathy at the new character development.
I really want to read Go Set A Watchman. However, I really treasure To Kill A Mockingbird and I really admire Atticus Finch’s character.
— Nur'ain (@summersundrops) July 12, 2015
2 fictional male characters I most admired as a child, Cliff Huxtable + Atticus Finch, are not doing well. Someone check on Charles Ingalls.
— Rebecca Keegan (@ThatRebecca) July 10, 2015
Why oh why would Atticus Finch be given a dark side? Did a direct-to-cable movie producer get to Harper Lee?
— Dan Smith (@dansmithphd) July 10, 2015
Dear People So Outraged That In A First Draft Atticus Finch Was Racist, Atticus Finch is a fictional character. He's not your dad. Yours, Me
— Hadley Freeman (@HadleyFreeman) July 12, 2015
People seem way more upset about the racism of fictional character than they are by a real one, like Donald Trump. #AtticusFinch
— Wyatt Cenac (@wyattcenac) July 12, 2015
Go Set a Watchman makes the character of Atticus Finch more realistic; people are too blinded by the fallacy of the saviour complex to admit
— Antoine Allen (@AntoineSpeaksOn) July 12, 2015
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