By Eryn Cohen
Harper Lee— now that’s a name that hasn’t been largely publicized in the media for over fifty years! When most people see her name, they associate it with the world-renowned novel To Kill a Mockingbird. This award-winning novel illustrates the 1930s racial injustice that was rampant in a small Alabama town through the eyes of young Jean Louise “Scout” Finch. Lee, who had chosen to step out of the limelight after the publication of her first novel, has decided to release a sequel entitled Go Set a Watchman.
Taking place in the 1950s, Go Set a Watchman is about a matured Scout Finch, who has aged thirty years since the Tom Robinson trial. Returning to Maycomb to visit her father, Atticus Finch, the novel reveals Scout’s growth over the years, and it demonstrates how her childhood in Maycomb shaped her into the woman she has grown to be. Go Set a Watchman is a brand new story featuring characters from the beloved classic To Kill a Mockingbird.
After interviewing Upper Dublin’s esteemed English teachers, Mrs. Favin and Mrs. Kaplan, here is what they had to say about the upcoming novel, Go Set a Watchman.
Q: Will you be reading Go Set a Watchman?
Mrs. Favin: I will most definitely be reading this!
Mrs. Kaplan: It’s on my list of things to read this summer!
Q: How did you hear about Go Set a Watchman?
Mrs. Favin: Two students sent me an email, and I heard it on the news later that night.
Mrs. Kaplan: One of my friends posted it on Facebook. I instantly liked it and wanted to read more.
Q: What went through you mind as soon as you heard the news?
Mrs. Favin: “Wow.” I remember asking my husband, “Did I hear that correctly?”
Mrs. Kaplan: I was really excited, especially being a tenth grade English teacher and having the opportunity to teach To Kill a Mockingbird in class.
Q: How much do you think the time lapse between the publications of the two novels
will affect its overall impact?
Mrs. Favin: I think that the despite the time lapse, the sequel will still be very successful. So many people loved To Kill a Mockingbird, and they will be interested in hearing a whole new version. Although, I believe that the original will always be more loved because of the innocence of Scout.
Mrs. Kaplan: We haven’t heard from Lee for all this time; I am just so curious. I’m just hoping that the sequel won’t ruin To Kill a Mockingbird.
Q: Is there anything you are especially excited for in the novel?
Mrs. Favin: It’s going to be really cool to compare Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee’s original novel and ideas, with To Kill a Mockingbird, a novel revised and changed by her editor.
Mrs. Kaplan: I’m just hoping that the sequel won’t ruin To Kill a Mockingbird.
Q: Is there any chance that the new novel will be incorporated in the English curriculum?
Mrs. Favin: If we are going to incorporate Go Set a Watchman, it will most likely be by reading excerpts in class to show different perspectives.
Mrs. Kaplan: We would probably be reading excerpts from Go Set a Watchman while we are reading To Kill a Mockingbird, and then we would be comparing and contrasting the two.
Here’s a few more words on the subject from a highly-qualified expert, Mr. Tralie.
Q: How do you feel about the upcoming sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird?
Mr. Tralie: Why didn’t she publish it already? How did this even show up? I also heard it sold out or something.
Already number one on Amazon’s best-selling classics, Go Set a Watchman is sure to be a must-read. Keep an eye out for Go Set a Watchmen which is projected to hit the stores this July!