READ: The First Chapter of Harper Lee’s “Go Set A Watchman” is Here
Meet Scout Finch: a sexually liberated woman in her twenties
On Tuesday, HarperCollins will release Go Set A Watchman, the first novel by the Pulitzer Prize winning author of To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee. The book follows Jean Louise Finch, a “sexually liberated” woman in her twenties, as she returns home to Alabama from New York. Lee’s editor, as The Wall Street Journal reports, “found the story lacking but, seizing on flashback scenes, suggested instead that she write about her protagonist as a young girl.” That young girl became Scout Finch, and her elaborated flashbacks ultimately became To Kill A Mockingbird.
The first chapter finds Jean Louise on a train, watching “the last of Georgia’s hills recede and the red earth appear” as she crosses into Alabama, where she ruminates on her family’s history of myth-making. She becomes slightly sardonic, carrying the air of superiority perceived to have been granted by the wider world to those who leave their home towns. We can only assume that at some point, Atticus will sit her down and remind her of the importance of humility.
Go Set A Watchman hits shelves on July 14.