In Harper Lee’s 1960 novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch is the most successful lawyer in Maycomb, AL during the 1930s. When he takes a rape case defending an African American man against a white woman, the town doubts his sanity. The townspeople speculate that Atticus has taken the case for the sake of justice, possibly even racial equality. He goes against the town’s unspoken racial stigma to defend Tom Robinson. However, Atticus’ views on race relations seem to have flipped one-hundred-eighty degrees in Lee’s 2015 novel Go Set a Watchman. Readers see a dark side of Atticus when he belittles the beloved heroine Jean Louise, questions her intelligence on race relations and the NAACP, attends a Klan meeting, admits to being pro-segregation, and uses the word “nigger.” Atticus is not the justice-fueled man anymore. Atticus Finch externalizes his inner ideology in Go Set a Watchman. This is evident when Finch compares himself to Tom Heflin, owns a pamphlet belittling African American intelligence, and varies in his treatment of Calpurnia.
Earnest, Kacy Alaina Ernest, "The Times Are-a-Changin': Portrayal of Atticus Finch Across Harper Lee's Novels" (2016). English Class Publications. 29.