Go Set a Watchman

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The single father of Jean Louise and Jem, a respected small-town lawyer and member of the state legislature. At the time of the novel he is seventy-two and has bad rheumatoid arthritis in his hands and shoulders. Atticus raised his children to be independent, empathetic, and well-read, with strong moral principles. He takes Hank under his wing after Jem’s death. Despite treating everyone with respect and previously defending a black man in court against the accusations of a white woman, Atticus opposes integration, especially integration enforced by the federal government, and is on the board of the Maycomb Citizens’ Council.

Atticus Finch Quotes in Go Set a Watchman

The Go Set a Watchman quotes below are all either spoken by Atticus Finch or refer to Atticus Finch. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Disillusionment Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Harper Perennial edition of Go Set a Watchman published in 2015.
Part 1, Chapter 3 Quotes

Henry is not and never will be suitable for you. We Finches do not marry the children of rednecked white trash, which is exactly what Henry’s parents were when they were born and were all their lives. You can’t call them anything better. The only reason Henry’s like he is now is because your father took him in hand when he was a boy, and because the war came along and paid for his education. Fine a boy as he is, the trash won’t wash out of him.

Related Characters: Alexandra Finch (Aunt Alexandra) (speaker), Jean Louise Finch, Atticus Finch, Henry Clinton (Hank)
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:

Aunt Alexandra (Atticus's sister), who takes care of Atticus, tells Jean-Louise about the possibilities of Jean-Louise's relationship with Henry "Hank" Clinton. Hank is plainly attracted to Jean-Louise, and vice versa, but Alexandra insists that he's not a suitable "match" for her. Alexandra goes on to explain that Hank, whatever his virtues as a person might be, is from a poor "white trash" family, and therefore can never make Jean-Louise happy in the ways she deserves.

If one compares go Set a Watchman and To Kill a Mockingbird, Aunt Alexandra is one of the most consistent characters. She's intolerant of people who are different from her, and looks down on those from a lower social class than hers. One could say that she's the embodiment of the old-fashioned Southern aristocratic snobbishness: she can't stand for her family to "breed" with commoners.

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Part 3, Chapter 8 Quotes

Mr. O’Hanlon was born and bred in the South, went to school there, married a Southern lady, lived all his life there, and his main interest today was to uphold the Southern Way of Life and no niggers and no Supreme Court was going to tell him or anybody else what to do… a race as hammer-headed as… essential inferiority… kinky woolly heads… still in the trees… greasy smelly… marry your daughters… mongrelize the race… mongrelize… save the South… back to Africa…
She heard her father’s voice, a tiny voice talking in the warm comfortable past. Gentlemen, if there’s one slogan in this world I believe, it is this: equal rights for all, special privileges for none.

Related Characters: Atticus Finch (speaker), Grady O’Hanlon (speaker), Jean Louise Finch
Page Number: 108
Explanation and Analysis:

In this dramatic passage, Lee "outs" Atticus as a racist character, or at least a character who's willing to support openly racist people. Atticus has agreed to introduced a public speaker, Grady O'Hanlon, who makes a long, rambling speech in which he criticizes the Supreme Court's decision in "Brown v. the Board of Education," the decision usually credited with integrating schools, and therefore communities, in the South. Jean Louise is appalled as she listens to O'Hanlon, who goes on to then use racist slurs to attack African-Americans: she can't believe her good-hearted father, who'd defended the principle of equal rights in the past (as reflected in a quote we might recognize from To Kill a Mockingbird), could partner up with racists like O'Hanlon.

The passage is frightening and yet also interesting in the way it contrasts (or perhaps compares?) Atticus's previous commitment to equal rights with his current support for racist anti-integrationists. Atticus had supported equal rights for African-Americans in the past, or so Jean Louise believed, and yet here Lee shows us the insufficiency of Atticus's beliefs. It's not enough to say that blacks should be "equal," as Atticus has, because equality can theoretically coexist with segregation (hence "separate but equal," the guiding principle of Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court case that strengthened segregation in the South fifty years before Brown). We also start to see one of the central conflicts of the novel, and of the tension between Lee's two novels, in this passage--how both Jean Louise and the reader of Mockingbird can reconcile the Citizens' Council Atticus of the present with the idealized, saintlike Atticus of the past.

Atticus took his career in his hands, made good use of a careless indictment, took his stand before a jury, and accomplished what was never before or afterwards done in Maycomb County: he won an acquittal for a colored boy on a rape charge. The chief witness for the prosecution was a white girl.

Related Characters: Atticus Finch
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:

In this flashback scene, we learn that years before the action of the novel, Atticus defended a black man from rape charges, resulting in a rare acquittal for a person of color (the "skeleton" of the plot of To Kill a Mockingbird, but with a crucial change--in Mockingbird Tom Robinson is still condemned, despite his obvious innocence, yet in Watchman Atticus wins an acquittal).

Atticus has defended African-Americans before, and done such a good job of defending them that he's freed them from prison and execution. How is it possible, Jean Louise wonders, that Atticus could be so helpful to certain members of the black community and yet also enable anti-integrationists like O'Hanlon? Atticus is an honorable character, but he seems to subscribe to a kind of libertarianism, in which government shouldn't be allowed to integrate Southern communities without those communities' consent. Thus, Atticus defends black people in court and yet allows the white community to keep the same black people out of their schools and restaurants.

Part 3, Chapter 9 Quotes

She did not stand alone, but what stood behind her, the most potent moral force in her life, was the love of her father. She never questioned it, never thought about it, never even realized that before she made any decision of importance the reflex, “What would Atticus do?” passed through her unconscious; she never realized what made her dig in her feet and stand firm whenever she did was her father; that whatever was decent and of good report in her character was put there by her father; she did not know that she worshipped him.

Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch, Atticus Finch
Page Number: 117
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Jean Louise continues to ruminate on her father's late "betrayal" of all the values he had previously seemed to stand for. Her crisis isn't just one of disillusionment with someone she considered moral--it's a crisis of her own sense of self, and her own moral standards. Jean Louise hadn't realized that her conscience was always based in her perceptions of Atticus's morality. But now that Atticus himself has undercut his own morals, what does Jean Louise have to stand on? She must learn to build her own principles apart from those supposedly embodied in her father's person.

Jean Louise's crisis also reflects our own as readers: like Jean-Louise, many of Lee's readers grew up worshipping Atticus, asking "what would Atticus do?", etc. Now that we've learned that Atticus (at least as he appears in Watchman) isn't as virtuous as he seemed, we're forced to make a choice. The passage is largely about the difference between idealized heroes and real, breathing human beings. Perhaps it's always dangerous to worship human beings as demigods--because in the end, they'll always do something disappointing.

Part 4, Chapter 12 Quotes

What was this blight that had come down over the people she loved? Did she see it in stark relief because she had been away from it? Had it percolated gradually through the years until now? Had it always been under her nose for her to see if she had only looked?

Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (speaker), Atticus Finch, Alexandra Finch (Aunt Alexandra) , Henry Clinton (Hank)
Page Number: 150
Explanation and Analysis:

As Jean Louise becomes more aware of the racist undercurrents in her community, she continues her crisis of identity and sense of belonging. She wonders here whether something has actually changed in Maycomb recently, or if its nearly-universal racism has always been there, and she was just too young, naive, or willfully ignorant to see it. Jean Louise seems to be going through the various stages of grief: she's angry, she tries to deny the facts, she tries to bargain and negotiate with the truth ("Had it percolated gradually through the years until now?"), and eventually she seems to come to a grudging, tragic acceptance of reality: Maycomb (and Atticus) is bigoted at heart, and on some level or another always has been.

“Thanks, but Scout’ll run me down later.”
His use of her childhood name crashed on her ears. Don’t you ever call me that again. You who called me Scout are dead and in your grave.

Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (speaker), Atticus Finch (speaker), Henry Clinton (Hank)
Page Number: 151
Explanation and Analysis:

Here, Atticus refers to Jean Louise by her childhood nickname, Scout. Jean Louise grows furious with Atticus for using her old name: she feels that the name conjures up a time in her life when she still worshipped her father like a god, and could look to him as a moral standard. Therefore, for Atticus to use the nickname Scout now is a reminder that his star has fallen--Jean Louise feels like she no longer knows Atticus at all.

Jean Louise is engaged in a fierce conflict with her father--albeit one that her father is so far oblivious to. Jean Louise, a more open-minded and racially tolerant person than her father, hates that Atticus has become (or always has been) so bigoted in his thinking, even as he taught Jean Louise her own open-mindedness. Furthermore, the passage gains extra significance, beyond anything Lee could have originally intended, because so many of Lee's readers grew up learning about "Scout's" adventures. For Atticus to use the nickname now is to remind us of the old, innocent days of To Kill a Mockingbird, thus adding another tragic level of disillusionment to the passage.

Part 5, Chapter 13 Quotes

Blind, that’s what I am. I never opened my eyes. I never thought to look into people’s hearts, I looked only in their faces. Stone blind… Mr. Stone. Mr. Stone set a watchman in church yesterday. He should have provided me with one… I need a watchman to tell me this is what a man says but this is what he means, to draw a line down the middle and say here is this justice and there is that justice and make me understand the difference. I need a watchman to go forth and proclaim to them all that twenty-six years is too long to play a joke on anybody, no matter how funny it is.

Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (speaker), Atticus Finch, Mr. Stone
Page Number: 181-182
Explanation and Analysis:

Here, Jean Louise sums up some of her conflicted feelings about the Southern way of life and her father. Jean Louise realizes that she grew up in something of a dreamworld; she believed that Atticus and Maycomb were one way, when it heart they were something different.

The passage also brings up the notion of a "watchman" (in a rather awkward connection--"stone blind" to "Mr. Stone"--from the young writer Lee), a symbolic figure who can see the future and stand for something permanent, potentially saving Jean Louise from disillusionment by warning her and reinforcing her own principles. The watchman could restore order in Jean Louie's world by telling Maycomb, Jean Louise's town, that it shouldn't have "played a joke" on Jean Louise (i.e., it shouldn't have deluded Jean Louise into thinking it was a fair, equitable place). Of course, there is no such watchman figure in the real world--without Atticus to guide her, Jean Louise feels all alone.

Part 5, Chapter 14 Quotes

The South’s in its last agonizing birth pain. It’s bringing forth something new and I’m not sure I like it, but I won’t be here to see it. You will. Men like me and my brother are obsolete and we’ve got to go, but it’s a pity we’ll carry with us the meaningful things of this society—there were some good things in it.

Related Characters: Dr. John Hale Finch (Uncle Jack) (speaker), Jean Louise Finch, Atticus Finch
Page Number: 200
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Jean Louise starts to rethink some of her ideas about Atticus. She meets with Atticus's brother, Uncle Jack, an intelligent, eccentric man. Uncle Jack argues to Jean Louise that Atticus and other opponents of integration aren't necessarily racist at all: they believe that black people should have equal rights, but they believe that integrating the schools and stores too quickly will result in crime and the collapse of the Southern way of life. Jack sums up his position by arguing that the old Southern culture wasn't perfect, but it also wasn't entire bad: and therefore, it shouldn't be entirely expunged, as many integrationists would like it to be. Jack's argument isn't entirely convincing (and it certainly doesn't convince Jean Louise), but it does at least help her see Atticus in less black and white terms--perhaps Atticus's beliefs, like his humanity, are more complicated than they appear.

Part 6, Chapter 17 Quotes

“Have you ever considered that you can’t have a set of backward people living among people advanced in one kind of civilization and have a social Arcadia?”
“…Of course I know that, but I heard something once. I heard a slogan and it stuck in my head. I heard ‘Equal rights for all; special privileges for none,’ and to me it didn’t mean anything but what it said. It didn’t mean one card off the top of the stack for the white man and one off the bottom for the Negro, it—”

Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (speaker), Atticus Finch (speaker)
Page Number: 242
Explanation and Analysis:

Here Jean Louise finally confronts Atticus about his racist beliefs, and Atticus responds by insisting that he's not a racist at all. He loves black people, but doesn't believe that black people are ready for the responsibilities of American citizens: he doesn't believe that they can be trusted to vote responsibly, attend schools at the level of white children, etc. In short, Atticus is sure that mixing black and white culture will simply dirty white culture, creating social chaos. The only way to maintain order in the South is to keep blacks and whites separate. Jean Louise responds by citing something Atticus told her long ago: "Equal rights for all; special privileges for none" (a famous quote from Tom Robinson's trial in Mockingbird). Jean Louise clearly believes that Atticus, in his loyalty to Southern culture, is evading his own moral philosophy.

The scene is really the climax of the book, because it shows the dialogue that took place between the North and the South in the 1950s and 60s. Atticus, representing the position of the educated, supposedly non-racist Southerner, argues that it's possible for two communities to be separate but equal--while Jean Louise insists that such a point of view is racist. Atticus seems to be sincere in his arguments (i.e., he's not just using "separate but equal" as a strategy to hide his secret hatred for black people), and yet his willingness to think of the black community as "backward" betrays his bigotry. The great conflict for Jean Louise, and for readers of both Mockingbird and Watchman, is how to accept that such bigotry can live alongside such strong moral principles within one man.

“Atticus, the NAACP hasn’t done half of what I’ve seen in the past two days. It’s us.”
“Us?”
“Yes sir, us. You. Has anybody, in all the wrangling and high words over states’ rights and what kind of government we should have, thought about helping the Negroes?”

Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (speaker), Atticus Finch (speaker)
Page Number: 245
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Jean Louise makes an argument about the flaws in the Southern anti-integrationist point of view. Atticus claims that the black community simply isn't "ready" to be integrated with the white community, and that the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. the Board of Education will throw the South into chaos--therefore, the South should wait until a future time when the black community is "ready." Jean Louise responds by pointing out that, in focusing so particularly on the Supreme Court and states' rights, the Southern anti-integrationists have neglected the real-world people actually affected by such political wrangling: the entire Southern black community.

In other words, Southerners have claimed that they want the black community to prepare itself for integration--just not today. In the meantime, supposedly, black people are supposed to be "grateful" for the rights and liberties they already have, and not get too "uppity." Such a point of view, Jean Louise argues, is extremely disingenuous, as evidenced by the fact that Southerners who oppose integration seem to have no interest whatsoever in actually helping black people (i..e, preparing them for integration at some point in the future). As readers, we might also add that integration wasn't some kind of "favor" to the black community, or a privilege they weren't ready for yet--it was merely the undoing of racist policies that never should have been there in the first place.

“Then let’s put this on a practical basis right now. Do you want Negroes by the carload in our schools and churches and theaters? Do you want them in our world?”
“They’re people, aren’t they? We were quite willing to import them when they made money for us.”
“Do you want your children going to a school that’s been dragged down to accommodate Negro children?”
“The scholastic level of that school down the street, Atticus, couldn’t be any lower and you know it. They’re entitled to the same opportunities anyone else has, they’re entitled to the same chance—”

Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (speaker), Atticus Finch (speaker)
Page Number: 245-246
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, one of the most frequently cited in reviews of the novel, Atticus Finch continues to argue with his daughter, Jean Louise. He claims that the integration of Southern society, while technically "just," will never work in the real world: it would be chaotic to have "carloads" of black people sent into white schools and churches. Jean Louise responds by claiming that black people should be allowed to go to white schools and churches--they're human beings, and deserve equal treatment.

Atticus's argument against integration betrays his racism. He speaks of black people as if they're a swarm of scary invaders--a big, unruly mob without any individual characteristics. Although Atticus claims that his real concern is the quality of education in Southern schools (i..e, black students will drive down the quality of learning), his language suggests a more visceral disgust with black people themselves. Atticus's argument isn't totally invalid (it's not unreasonable to think about the effects of integration on the quality of education), but his wording suggests that he's motivated by racism as much as an abstract commitment to learning or Southern society.

“You sowed the seeds in me, Atticus, and now it’s coming home to you—”
“Are you finished with what you have to say?”
She sneered. “Not half through. I’ll never forgive you for what you did to me. You cheated me, you’ve driven me out of my home and now I’m in a no-man’s-land but good—there’s no place for me any more in Maycomb, and I’ll never be entirely at home anywhere else.”

Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (speaker), Atticus Finch (speaker)
Page Number: 248
Explanation and Analysis:

In this climactic passage, Jean Louise seems to be cutting ties with Atticus altogether. She thinks of Atticus as betraying her, and all his arguments in this scene have done nothing to change her mind about this. Atticus raised Jean Louise to believe in equality and humanity, and yet now he seems to be opposing such values. Jean Louise's confession is especially poignant because she claims that she's become totally disillusioned with her hometown of Maycomb as well, not just Atticus. Jean Louise will always be grateful to Atticus and Maycomb for the education and experiences she received, and yet she'll never again be able to truly embrace either Atticus or Maycomb, now that she recognizes the racism and bigotry that surrounded her all along. In short, Jean Louise is finally (seemingly) turning her back on her family and her Southern heritage, even as she acknowledges that she's a Southerner through and through, and accepts that she has no real home but Maycomb and Atticus.

“How they’re as good as they are now is a mystery to me, after a hundred years of systematic denial that they’re human. I wonder what kind of miracle we could work with a week’s decency.
“There was no point in saying any of this because I know you won’t give an inch and you never will. You’ve cheated me in a way that’s inexpressible, but don’t let it worry you, because the joke is entirely on me. You’re the only person I think I’ve ever fully trusted and now I’m done for.”

Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (speaker), Atticus Finch
Page Number: 252
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Jean Louise's attacks on Atticus become personal, not ideological. She's angry with Atticus for contradicting his principles of equality and humanity, and yet she's also furious with him simply because he seems to have lied to her. Jean Louise turns Atticus's argument on his head. Atticus has claimed that the black community's high rates of crime and low literacy are proof that it's not ready for integration with white America. Jean Louise counters by claiming that the black community's relatively high literacy rates are proof that it's capable of surviving and thriving even with the hatred an systematic oppression of the white community pushing it down. Therefore, integration will improve the black community immeasurably: African-Americans are ready, and always have been.

Jean Louise doesn't stop here, though. She tells Atticus that she's done arguing: she can't stand being around him any longer, given how bigoted he's become (and perhaps always was). It's not clear if Lee agrees with Jean Louise's actions completely: Jean Louise is standing by the principles Atticus himself instilled in her, and yet she's also choosing to run away and cut ties with her family and hometown instead of working to change them.

Part 7, Chapter 18 Quotes

Every man’s island, Jean Louise, every man’s watchman, is his conscience. There is no such thing as a collective conscious… now you, Miss, born with your own conscience, somewhere along the line fastened it like a barnacle onto your father’s. As you grew up, when you were grown, totally unknown to yourself, you confused your father with God. You never saw him as a man with a man’s heart, and a man’s failings—I’ll grant you it may have been hard to see, he makes so few mistakes, but he makes ‘em like all of us. You were an emotional cripple, leaning on him, getting the answers from him, assuming that your answers would always be his answers.

Related Characters: Dr. John Hale Finch (Uncle Jack) (speaker), Jean Louise Finch, Atticus Finch
Page Number: 265
Explanation and Analysis:

As the novel reaches an ending, Jean Louise returns to Uncle Jack, and they have a long conversation about individual responsibility and conscience. Jean Louis realizes that her mistake was to trust that Atticus was a kind of god, perfect in every way. Because Jean Louise based her notions of right and wrong entirely around Atticus, she was inevitably going to be crushed when Atticus did something wrong. She's better off figuring out the truth for herself: constructing her own principles apart from Atticus's person, and deciding for herself what to believe about the black community and integration.

Uncle Jack might not agree with Jean Louise, but he doesn't try to sway her to his side too much. Instead, he allows her to believe whatever she wants to believe, rather than leaning on anybody else. In his politics as well as his personal interactions, Uncle Jack could be termed a kind of "libertarian"--he seems to believe that the black community should be allowed to thrive, but on its own, and by the same token, he seems to think that Jean Louise needs to figure out for herself what to believe, rather than trading ideas with anybody else, including her own father. At the same time, Uncle Jack is also a kind of "ivory tower" figure, making high-minded arguments and subtle points that are technically correct, but that ignore real-world injustices and suffering.

“You may not know it, but there’s room for you down here.”
“You mean Atticus needs me?”
“Not altogether. I was thinking of Maycomb.”
“That’d be great, with me on one side and everybody else on the other. If life’s an endless flow of the kind of talk I heard this morning, I don’t think I’d exactly fit in.”
“That’s the one thing about here, the South, you’ve missed. You’d be amazed if you knew how many people are on your side, if side’s the right word. You’re no special case. The woods are full of people like you, but we need some more of you.”
… “What on earth could I do? I can’t fight them. There’s no fight in me any more…”
“I don’t mean by fighting; I mean by going to work every morning, coming home at night, seeing your friends.”

Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (speaker), Dr. John Hale Finch (Uncle Jack) (speaker), Atticus Finch
Page Number: 272
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Uncle Jack tries to convince Jean Louise to stay in Maycomb. Jean Louise, disgusted with her father and her old community, has planned to leave her hometown as soon as she can to return to New York. Jack argues that Jean Louise should remain behind, or at least move back again later, despite the fact that she'll be in the minority for her political views. Jack claims that Jean Louise isn't as much of an outsider as she believes--there are others who agree with her about the importance of integration.

Ironically, Jack ends up seeming to take the more moral route than Jean Louise herself on this issue: where Jean Louise wants to run back to New York, allowing Maycomb to persist in its institutional racism, Jack encourages her to stay in Maycomb and interact with the racists in town, perhaps changing their beliefs in the process. She is white, and the daughter of a respected man in town, and so she should use her position of relative privilege to help the people she claims to be fighting for.

Part 7, Chapter 19 Quotes

“You may be sorry, but I’m proud of you.”
She looked up and saw her father beaming at her…
“Well, I certainly hoped a daughter of mine’d hold her ground for what she thinks is right—stand up to me first of all.”

Related Characters: Atticus Finch (speaker), Jean Louise Finch
Page Number: 277
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Atticus and Jean Louise come to an uneasy truce. Jean Louise continues to disagree with Atticus for his political views--views which she considers to be racist--and yet Atticus is proud of Jean Louise because she had the courage to stand up to him. Atticus, for all his racism, continues to celebrate individual responsibility and strong moral principles, to the point where he not only tolerates but celebrates those who disagree with his ideas.

In an ironic twist, Atticus, the racist segregationist, seems more accepting of differing points of view than Jean Louise, the liberal integrationist (even if his acceptance doesn't extend much beyond his own family here). By the same token, Jean Louise finally seems to accept Atticus as the human father-figure he is: flawed in his beliefs, yet still worthy of her respect and love. She hasn't lost her home (which includes both Maycomb and Atticus himself) after all--she's just seen the ugly truth about it, and must now work to change it because she loves it.

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Atticus Finch Character Timeline in Go Set a Watchman

The timeline below shows where the character Atticus Finch appears in Go Set a Watchman. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 1
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
Mockingbird and Watchman Theme Icon
...as she likes trains and gets to admire the countryside. She doesn’t want her father Atticus, who is seventy-two, to have to drive all the way to the airport in Mobile... (full context)
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
Mockingbird and Watchman Theme Icon
...considered Cousin Joshua a “credit to the family,” but Jean Louise learned the truth from Atticus. Cousin Joshua had attended the University of Alabama, where he went mad and fired a... (full context)
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
Mockingbird and Watchman Theme Icon
...then stops, just as Jean Louise predicted. She is surprised to see that her father, Atticus, isn’t waiting for her as she had expected. Instead it is Henry “Hank” Clinton, her... (full context)
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
Southern Politics and Society Theme Icon
Mockingbird and Watchman Theme Icon
Jean Louise gets into the car (which is Atticus’s) and jokes about its automatic transmission. Hank asks Jean Louise to marry him, half joking,... (full context)
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
Mockingbird and Watchman Theme Icon
Hank considers Atticus to be like his father, but doesn’t think of Jean Louise as his sister. He... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 2
Mockingbird and Watchman Theme Icon
The narrative now follows Atticus Finch, who is seventy-two and arthritic. He reads a book and talks to his sister... (full context)
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
Southern Politics and Society Theme Icon
Hank and Jean Louise arrive and Jean Louise greets Atticus excitedly. They all sit down and Jean Louise asks for the gossip about the family... (full context)
Racism and Bigotry Theme Icon
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
Southern Politics and Society Theme Icon
Atticus then asks Jean Louise what she’s heard about “what’s going on” in the South regarding... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
Conscience and Principles Theme Icon
Southern Politics and Society Theme Icon
...Jean Louise that it was now her duty to stay home and take care of Atticus. Jean Louise insisted that if Atticus wanted her to come home he would have told... (full context)
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
Mockingbird and Watchman Theme Icon
...Alexandra had done “the one generous act” of her life by going to live with Atticus and help take care of him. Calpurnia, the family’s old black housekeeper, had gotten too... (full context)
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
Mockingbird and Watchman Theme Icon
Jean Louise helps Alexandra do dishes and looks around, admiring Atticus’s new house and thinking that he is “an incredible man.” He had torn down their... (full context)
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
Southern Politics and Society Theme Icon
...idea of the event, but she is still grateful to Alexandra for taking care of Atticus, so she doesn’t complain too much. Jean Louise asks about Hank, and Alexandra boasts that... (full context)
Racism and Bigotry Theme Icon
Southern Politics and Society Theme Icon
...points to his bad manners, and then gets worked up imagining him taking advantage of Atticus’s charity. Jean Louise finally can’t take it anymore and she tells Alexandra to “go pee... (full context)
Racism and Bigotry Theme Icon
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
Conscience and Principles Theme Icon
Southern Politics and Society Theme Icon
Jean Louise gets ready for her date with Hank, and talks to Atticus, who is reading in the living room. He chides her for being crude to Aunt... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 5
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
Mockingbird and Watchman Theme Icon
...cars anymore after living in the city, and they reminisce about a childhood event when Atticus was driving them all to go swimming. He hit a bump and Jem fell out... (full context)
Racism and Bigotry Theme Icon
Southern Politics and Society Theme Icon
...her be silent when she wants to be. He is very patient with her, because Atticus had warned him that she can be incredibly stubborn and willful. Hank trusts Atticus and... (full context)
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
Mockingbird and Watchman Theme Icon
...taken her wet clothes off after the “baptism.” Calpurnia is furious, and tells them that Atticus had invited Reverend Moorehead over for dinner that night. (full context)
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
Mockingbird and Watchman Theme Icon
...out for these misbehaving “motherless children.” Jean Louise looks up and sees tears running down Atticus’s face, and she is worried that he’s been deeply hurt. Atticus excuses himself from the... (full context)
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
Southern Politics and Society Theme Icon
...of the Finch family, but has now been sold and turned into a hunting club. Atticus and his brother Jack had been the last to live there, but they moved away... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 6
Southern Politics and Society Theme Icon
...naked the night before. Alexandra is scandalized, but Jean Louise shrugs it off. She tells Atticus, who also makes light of it. Alexandra is confused when she sees Jean Louise’s wet... (full context)
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...church. Aunt Alexandra disapproves of Jean Louise’s attire as usual. Uncle Jack, the brother of Atticus and Alexandra, is waiting for them at the church. He was a bone doctor in... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 8
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That afternoon Hank comes by to get Atticus for a “meeting” at the courthouse, and he solidifies his plans with Jean Louise for... (full context)
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...the ridiculous statements it makes about scientific racial inferiority. Aunt Alexandra says it’s something that Atticus brought home from a Maycomb citizens’ council meeting. Atticus is on the board of directors,... (full context)
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...which is usually for “blacks only,” where she and Jem used to sit to watch Atticus when he was in court. Jean Louise looks down and sees not only the “trash”... (full context)
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...public office, taking advantage of others’ poverty to keep his power. Jean Louise knows that Atticus would normally never even speak to Willoughby, but now they are sitting at the same... (full context)
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The clock strikes two and Atticus stands up, tersely introducing the speaker for today, a man named Grady O’Hanlon. Mr. O’Hanlon... (full context)
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...of a scene twenty years earlier, when she sat in the same spot and watched Atticus defend a black man against a white woman on a rape charge. Then Atticus had... (full context)
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...growing even more vicious and offensive, and Jean Louise starts sweating and panicking to see Atticus and Hank sitting to either side of him, seemingly condoning his words. Uncle Jack seems... (full context)
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...is now treeless and covered in gravel. Suddenly she feels nauseated, and is sure that Atticus, the man she trusted and admired most of anyone in the world, has betrayed her. (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 9
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Atticus’s moral character has never been called into question in Maycomb. He can be described with... (full context)
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Atticus had raised his children well, teaching them to read early and letting them read whatever... (full context)
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Atticus sent Jean Louise to a womens’ college in Georgia, and then told her to move... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 11
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...upon oneself and one’s family. She grows depressed and angry, and won’t even talk to Atticus and Jem. Every morning she wakes up hopeful, but then remembers her supposed baby and... (full context)
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...plans on killing herself the day before that, so as to avoid bringing shame on Atticus and Jem. On the day of her suicide, Jean Louise climbs up the town water... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 12
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...she puts her head in her hands and thinks that she would have rather caught Atticus and Hank at a bar with women than at that meeting. (full context)
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...outside and stops her, saying that she’s woken everyone up. Jean Louise goes inside, where Atticus is eating his breakfast. This is a slow and painful process because of his arthritis.... (full context)
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Jean Louise finally looks at Atticus and finds herself surprised to see that his appearance hasn’t changed overnight. Hank arrives and... (full context)
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Hank tells Atticus about a call he got from the sheriff that morning. A young black man (the... (full context)
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Atticus goes on and says that they should take the case to avoid it falling into... (full context)
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Jean Louise can’t believe that Atticus won’t help Calpurnia’s grandson. He used to be willing to do anything for her, if... (full context)
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Jean Louise goes back into the living room. Atticus calls her “Scout,” and the nickname is painful to Jean Louise. She thinks “you who... (full context)
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...and says she knows that’s not true. Jean Louise suddenly feels disconnected not only from Atticus and Hank, but from all of Maycomb, and she blames herself for this. (full context)
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Jean Louise brings the groceries home, avoiding speaking to Atticus. Then she drives to the edge of town, where Calpurnia and her family live. There... (full context)
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...and frail she looks in her chair. Jean Louise sits down and tells Calpurnia that Atticus will help her grandson, whose name is Frank. Once Jean Louise would have said this... (full context)
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...“what are you all doing to us?” Jean Louise tries to talk to her about Atticus and how he has changed, but Calpurnia offers no sympathy. Before she leaves, Jean Louise... (full context)
Part 5, Chapter 13
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...equally by a white man and a black woman. What hurts her so much about Atticus is that he lived by this truth, and now has abandoned it. (full context)
Part 5, Chapter 14
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...asks her what’s the matter. She says she can’t figure out what has happened to Atticus and Hank and Aunt Alexandra. Jack laughs at her, which makes Jean Louise angry. (full context)
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...like she’s a medical anomaly, and says she’s making a bad mistake if she thinks Atticus is a “nigger-hater.” He says that Atticus and those Southern men like him are fighting... (full context)
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...so difficult in his vague arguments. She again asks him straightforwardly what is wrong with Atticus and Alexandra, and why black and white relations are so bad right in the South... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 15
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Jean Louise then realizes in a panic that she doesn’t know how to dance. Atticus suggests she ask Uncle Jack, and he comes over and gives her a quick lesson.... (full context)
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...drops Jean Louise off afterward, he kisses her lightly. She runs inside and immediately asks Atticus if he thinks Hank is too old for her. (full context)
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...she congratulates Hank—who forged all the other confessions—and he says he got the idea from Atticus, whom he had driven off to consult. (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 16
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Jean Louise goes to Atticus’s office and talks to Hank. He is going out, and she walks with him. She... (full context)
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...the Ku Klux Klan, saying that it used to be a respectable organization, and that Atticus had been a member forty years earlier. Jean Louise bitterly says that she isn’t even... (full context)
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...gives up and accuses Hank of being a “scared little man” who goes along with Atticus and the crowd even when he knows they’re not right. (full context)
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...that he is a hypocrite, and she can’t live with a hypocrite. She then hears Atticus behind her, saying “hypocrites have just as much right to live in this world as... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 17
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Atticus sends Hank away, and Jean Louise realizes that they are standing in the spot (outside... (full context)
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Jean Louise decides to not argue with Atticus, but just to tell him her thoughts and then leave. She declares that the citizens’... (full context)
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Jean Louise knows that Atticus is keeping the conversation in safe territory, so she keeps talking. She thinks that the... (full context)
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...conversation with the idea of not arguing, and then escaping to New York while preserving Atticus as a happy memory, but now she decides to go ahead and argue with him.... (full context)
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Atticus responds that Southern blacks already have had their chance. He says that their civilization, as... (full context)
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Atticus says that Jean Louise is being inconsistent by attacking the Supreme Court but also defending... (full context)
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...South should have been fighting the Supreme Court, but instead they just turned against blacks. Atticus says to think of things practically, and asks if Jean Louise wants “Negroes by the... (full context)
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Atticus says that he’s trying to make Jean Louise understand his position. Nothing has convinced him... (full context)
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Atticus asks Jean Louise how she could have grown up in Maycomb and not understand all... (full context)
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Jean Louise tells Atticus that everything she learned she got from him, and that he should only blame himself... (full context)
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Jean Louise can tell that Atticus is still a “gentleman” no matter what, but she keeps going with her angry accusations.... (full context)
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Atticus pleads with her, saying that he only let Mr. O’Hanlon speak because he had asked... (full context)
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...considering how snubbed and degraded they are in every aspect of life. She declares that Atticus is the only person she ever fully trusted, and he has cheated her. She’ll never... (full context)
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Atticus responds with “well, I love you.” Jean Louise gets angrier, declaring that she’s leaving and... (full context)
Part 7, Chapter 18
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Jean Louise drives home, feeling distraught beyond words. She is especially heartbroken by Atticus’s refusal to fight back, and his final phrases “I love you” and “as you please.”... (full context)
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...has a drink and then tells Jean Louise that he knows about her talk with Atticus. He agrees to be straightforward with her now, and says he was so vague earlier... (full context)
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...that “every man’s watchman, is his conscience.” Growing up, Jean Louise’s conscience was based around Atticus, and so Atticus became like God for her—she never allowed him to be a man,... (full context)
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Uncle Jack goes on: because of this, when Jean Louise saw Atticus doing something contradictory to her conscience (like sitting at the citizens’ council), it made her... (full context)
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Jean Louise realizes that this is why Atticus only answered her curses with calm and loving phrases. She had tried to destroy him,... (full context)
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Uncle Jack tells Jean Louise that she and Atticus are very similar, actually, except that she is a bigot and he’s not. He clarifies... (full context)
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Uncle Jack says that this is the law Atticus lives by: letting people do what they please, as long as they aren’t actively hurting... (full context)
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Uncle Jack tells Jean Louise to take him home and to then pick up Atticus. Jean Louise feels like she can’t see Atticus again after what she said to him,... (full context)
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...with her mother. Jean Louise feels ashamed again of yelling at him, and asks if Atticus knew this. Jack says he did. Jean Louise thanks him, and he thanks her too,... (full context)
Part 7, Chapter 19
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Jean Louise goes to Atticus’s office. Hank is still at his desk, and she greets him and agrees to go... (full context)
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Jean Louise thinks about how she tried to “destroy” Atticus and all of Maycomb, when they are the things that make up her world. She... (full context)
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Jean Louise tells Atticus “I think I love you very much.” She sees him, “her old enemy,” relax, and... (full context)