p. 69 “He opened it and said, ‘My text for today is taken from the twenty-first chapter of Isaiah, verse six: For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth'”.
While this is not a summary on the story in great detail, I share my thoughts on this book. If you have not read it yet, this post may not resonate with your thoughts.
I love this story. It takes a beloved character or two, and places them against a complex, racist, small-town backdrop. In doing so, it sheds light on human nature both the worst and the best. It could be any one of us, in any intimate world of our own, during any time in our lives. How many of us leave home grounded by the iconic and archetypal image of “home” firmly in place, allowing us to have this touchstone, if threatened, lonely, or just homesick? Perhaps we try to relive the ideal – to participate this culture with the child we once were – with innocence. We return with new eyes. We are not the same person who left home. We cannot escape age or maturity. It forces us into living the present.
While there is more importance in the writing, this is the core for me. It condenses the solitary (and universal) experience: bittersweet leave-taking of home, returning to the well-loved place and people with your adult self, letting anger and blame abound, and then, finally integrating the good there, without dismissing that which is untenable. Living the new life with the knowledge that life is messy and unfair, at best, but one is loved despite the past and present.
Lee, Harper. Go Set a Watchman. New York: Harper, an Imprint of HarperCollins, 2015. eBook.