Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set a Watchman’: Don’t write Atticus Finch off as a racist just yet [Video]

“Go Set a Watchman” offers readers a darker side to Atticus Finch, the beloved moral center of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Keep it all in context, Los Angeles Times Book Critic David L. Ulin explains in this video.


Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman” won’t be released to the public until Tuesday, but readers already know that the book reveals a darker side to Atticus Finch.

Finch, of course, is the beloved moral compass from Lee’s first book, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” And the perceived tarnishing of Finch’s character is being greeted with dismay by some.

But hold up.

Los Angeles Times book critic David L. Ulin says in this new video that readers might want to keep a greater context in mind when they dig in to “Watchman.”


For one, although “Watchman” arrives decades after “Mockingbird,” it’s something of a first draft, Ulin explains.

So, Ulin asks, “How do we read this novel?... Do we read it as an example of a writer’s process?... The real story here is how Harper Lee came to a different understanding of that character.”

You can read Ulin’s review of Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman” here.

Are you planning on reading “Watchman”? Leave your review in the comments section on this post when you’re done.

More coverage on the eve of “Watchman”’s hotly anticipated release:

Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set a Watchman.’ Will it live up to ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’?

Harper Lee’s hometown in a frenzy on the eve of ‘Go Set a Watchman’ release

Don’t let ‘Watchman’ change the way you think about Atticus Finch: How his character evolved