Document Type

Class Paper

Publication Date

Spring 2016


Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, and its controversial sequel Go Set a Watchman, seem to revolve around similar events in the lives of the Finch family and the community of Maycomb. However, despite both being set in the same town and both being narrated by Jean Louise Finch, Lee uses different structures for the novels to serve different literary goals. Through Mockingbird, Lee uses Jem’s coming of age to criticize the social and political climate of the 1950s, though she does so through the ostensible 1930s setting of the novel. Through Watchman, Lee uses Scout’s coming of age explore to the timeless issue of how an individual is to relate to his or her world. Go Set a Watchman provides Scout’s coming of age, and in doing so challenges the reader to accept living in the world that Lee presents in Mockingbird. In Mockingbird, Lee is saying, “This is the world we live in.” In Watchman, Lee is saying, “This is how we might stand to live in it.”