From The Wall Street Journal:
The revelation that Harper Lee’s novel “Go Set a Watchman” depicts Atticus Finch as a segregationist has prompted dismay among many awaiting the book’s release, and an uncomfortable reassessment of one of the most beloved heroes of American literature.
The book, to be released Tuesday, also could reshape the legacy of Harper Lee’s father,Amasa Coleman Lee, who was the model for Atticus Finch—the cerebral lawyer who faces down a lynch mob and defends a black man wrongly accused of rape in her novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Ms. Lee’s father was indeed a segregationist, according to people who knew him and according to Charles J. Shields, author of the biography “Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee.” But while his daughter was at work on “Mockingbird,” Mr. Lee had a change of heart that moved him to advocate for integration. Mr. Shields said Mr. Lee’s late-in-life shift could explain the transformation of Atticus through the author’s drafts from a bigot in “Watchman” to a civil-rights hero in “Mockingbird,” and why in interviews after “Mockingbird” she spoke glowingly of her father. “She may have been very proud of him,” Mr. Shields said.
. . . .
“Mockingbird” fans lit up social media over the weekend with a spectrum of emotions. “No, not Atticus!” Brandon Gates, a television reporter in Augusta, Ga., wrote on Twitter. Don Frederico, a lawyer and past president of the Boston Bar Association, tweeted “I want to remember Atticus as lawyer-hero,” and said he had tentatively decided not to read “Watchman.” Others said they were even more eager to read it.
Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Link may expire)