Go Set a Watchman

Introduction

Go Set a Watchman is a novel by Harper Lee written before the Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill a Mockingbird, her first and only other published novel (1960). Although it was initially promoted as a sequel by its publisher, it is now accepted that it was a first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird, with many passages being used again in that book.[2][3][4]

The title comes from Isaiah 21:6: "For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth",[5] which is quoted by the minister character of Mr. Stone in the book's seventh chapter. It alludes to Jean Louise Finch's view of her father, Atticus Finch, as the moral compass ("watchman") of Maycomb,[6] and has a theme of disillusionment, as she discovers the extent of the bigotry in her home community. Go Set a Watchman tackles the racial tensions brewing in the South in the 1950s and delves into the complex relationship between father and daughter. It includes treatments of many of the characters who appear in To Kill a Mockingbird.[7]

A significant controversy around the decision to publish Go Set a Watchman centered around the allegations that 89-year-old Lee was taken advantage of and was pressured into allowing publication against her previously stated intentions.[8] Later, when it was realized that the book was an early draft as opposed to a distinct sequel, it was questioned why the novel had been published without any context.[9]

HarperCollins, United States, and William Heinemann, United Kingdom, published Go Set a Watchman on July 14, 2015. The book's unexpected discovery, decades after it was written, and the status of the author's only other book as an American classic, caused its publication to be highly anticipated.[10][9][11] Amazon stated that it was their "most pre-ordered book" since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2007,[12] and stores arranged all-night openings beginning at midnight to cope with expected demand.[13]


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