Go Set a Watchman

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Henry Clinton (Hank) Character Analysis

Jean Louise’s oldest friend and boyfriend, a young man who moved in next to the Finches when Jean Louise was growing up. Hank is a from a poor family and raised by a single mother, and has to work for everything he has. He becomes Atticus’s apprentice in practicing law after Jem’s death. Hank is in love with Jean Louise and is constantly asking her to marry him.

Henry Clinton (Hank) Quotes in Go Set a Watchman

The Go Set a Watchman quotes below are all either spoken by Henry Clinton (Hank) or refer to Henry Clinton (Hank). 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 2, Chapter 5 Quotes

Henry said, “Were you serious a minute ago when you said you didn’t like your world disturbed?”
“Hm?” She did not know. She supposed she was. She tried to explain: “It’s just that every time I’ve come home for the past five years—before that, even. From college—something’s changed a little more…”

Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (speaker), Henry Clinton (Hank) (speaker)
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Jean Louise and Hank spend some time together near Finch's Landing, an area that's named after Jean-Louise's family (though her family doesn't have any literal claim to owning it anymore). Jean Louise, who lives in New York now, confesses to Hank that she dislikes returning to the South every few years and finding things different. She sees a constant changing in her hometown--and she finds it hard to keep up.

It's fascinating that Jean Louise is complaining about "change" in the South, when one considers that most of the "changes" in the South during her lifetime were positive changes for the equality: black people saw their rights to vote, attend school, work, and be safe protected by the federal government. Some criticized these political and social changes on the grounds that they destroyed the Southern "way of life" (a way of life symbolized by Finch's Landing, one could argue) and replaced the old way of life with a dull, chaotic "mixing." Jean Louise seems to be a passionate defender of equal rights for African-Americans, and yet, like so many of even the best-intentioned white people, she also feels nostalgic for the past, in all its good and evil. She might logically recognize that Maycomb is (theoretically) becoming a more just place, but she still misses her old home.

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 6, Chapter 16 Quotes

“I’m only trying to make you see beyond men’s acts to their motives. A man can appear to be a part of something not-so-good on its face, but don’t take it upon yourself to judge him unless you know his motives as well…”
Jean Louise said, “Are you saying go along with the crowd and then when the time comes—”
Henry checked her: “Look, honey. Have you ever considered that men, especially men, must conform to certain demands of the community they live in simply so they can be of service to it?”

Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (speaker), Henry Clinton (Hank) (speaker)
Page Number: 230
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Jean Louise has a long conversation with Hank in which Hank seems to defend some of the same ideas that Uncle Jack and Atticus have put forward recently. When Jean Louise tries to argue that the KKK is an inherently racist organization, and that the opponents of integration are inherently racist, Hank disagrees. He claims that may of the people in the KKK, including Atticus (a former member, we learn!), simply believe that the Southern states should be allowed to defend their own rights and determine their own laws, instead of submitting to federal orders. Jean Louise is furious with Hank for arguing on behalf of the KKK: Hank seems to be saying that it's sometimes necessary to align with racist organizations like the KKK in order to enact one's own non-racist ideas. Thus, Atticus joined the KKK not because he hated black people but because he wanted to protect Southern communities and the "Southern way of life."

To say Hank's logic is flawed would be an understatement, however. If the people in power--white Southern men--won't call out their peers for racism, then who will be able to effect change? Hank is essentially saying that the ends justify the means, and he doesn't realize that "temporarily" espousing racist ideas or supporting racist groups isn't really possible--racism isn't just people in white hoods, but is also part of social institutions and political philosophies, even those as seemingly high-minded as self-determination. It's naive to think that one can join the KKK in order to further one's own non-racist ideas, and then expect the policies that result to not be tainted by some kind of racism or inequality. Furthermore, the rather condescending way Hank frames his arguments ("look, honey") doesn't especially endear him to readers.

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Henry Clinton (Hank) Character Timeline in Go Set a Watchman

The timeline below shows where the character Henry Clinton (Hank) 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
...her father, Atticus, isn’t waiting for her as she had expected. Instead it is Henry “Hank” Clinton, her oldest friend and beau (boyfriend). Henry kisses Jean Louise when she gets off... (full context)
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
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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, and it is clear that he has... (full context)
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Hank considers Atticus to be like his father, but doesn’t think of Jean Louise as his... (full context)
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Conscience and Principles Theme Icon
Jean Louise and Hank flirt, and then Hank stops the car and seriously asks her to marry him. He... (full context)
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Jean Louise apologizes to Hank and he remarks that she, unlike most women, can’t hide her feelings very well. Jean... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 2
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
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Hank and Jean Louise arrive and Jean Louise greets Atticus excitedly. They all sit down and... (full context)
Racism and Bigotry Theme Icon
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
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...for immortality.” Jean Louise is flippant about how the Northern newspapers have been reporting it. Hank makes plans with her for a date and then leaves, with Jean Louise and Atticus... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
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...for taking care of Atticus, so she doesn’t complain too much. Jean Louise asks about Hank, and Alexandra boasts that he was made “Man of the Year” by the Kiwanis club,... (full context)
Racism and Bigotry Theme Icon
Southern Politics and Society Theme Icon
Jean Louise suggests that she might want to marry Hank, but now Aunt Alexandra strongly disapproves. Alexandra likes Hank, but doesn’t think he has the... (full context)
Racism and Bigotry Theme Icon
Southern Politics and Society Theme Icon
Aunt Alexandra declares that Hank will never be suitable to marry Jean Louise, because “fine a boy as he is,... (full context)
Racism and Bigotry Theme Icon
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
Conscience and Principles Theme Icon
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Jean Louise gets ready for her date with Hank, and talks to Atticus, who is reading in the living room. He chides her for... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 4
Disillusionment Theme Icon
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...Louise also can’t help disapproving of her hometown becoming different. During their date, she and Hank eat dinner and talk about their old childhood games. Hank is frustrated by Jean Louise’s... (full context)
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...Jean Louise wonders how many people in Maycomb remember her as Scout, the troublesome tomboy. Hank comments on Jean Louise’s habit of only drinking half of her second coffee after dinner,... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 5
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Jean Louise bumps her head getting into the car and curses at it. Hank says she’s not used to cars anymore after living in the city, and they reminisce... (full context)
Racism and Bigotry Theme Icon
Southern Politics and Society Theme Icon
Hank drives Jean Louise to get drinks and then they start driving again. Jean Louise isn’t... (full context)
Racism and Bigotry Theme Icon
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
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Jean Louise starts to doze and Hank watches her, feeling that she belongs to him. Ever since they were little he has... (full context)
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
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...reminiscing and the scene changes to a flashback of her childhood. It is summer, when Hank is away staying at his mother’s and Dill is living next door to the Finches.... (full context)
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Hank interrupts Jean Louise’s reminiscing. He asks if she thinks Dill will ever come back to... (full context)
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There are 366 steps leading down to Finch’s Landing, and Hank and Jean Louise start to descend. Hank reminds her that they’re trespassing, as the Finches... (full context)
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Hank asks her about this, and Jean Louise says she wants Maycomb to stay the same,... (full context)
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Hank repeats his offer of marriage, and tells Jean Louise that he plans on running for... (full context)
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Jean Louise threatens to push Hank into the water, and he threatens to take her with him if she does. She... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 6
Southern Politics and Society Theme Icon
...Louise the next morning, saying that she just heard a rumor that Jean Louise and Hank were swimming naked the night before. Alexandra is scandalized, but Jean Louise shrugs it off.... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 7
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
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At church Jean Louise feels comfortable, like she’s really back home. Hank passes around the collection plate and winks at her, which makes Aunt Alexandra angry. After... (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... (full context)
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...home from a Maycomb citizens’ council meeting. Atticus is on the board of directors, and Hank is “one of the staunchest members.” That’s the meeting they are at right now. (full context)
Disillusionment Theme Icon
Racism and Bigotry Theme Icon
Southern Politics and Society Theme Icon
Mockingbird and Watchman Theme Icon
...the “trash” of Maycomb County, but also its most respectable men, including her father and Hank, both of them at a table set apart from the crowd. (full context)
Disillusionment Theme Icon
Racism and Bigotry Theme Icon
Conscience and Principles Theme Icon
Southern Politics and Society Theme Icon
Mockingbird and Watchman Theme Icon
...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 like the... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 10
Disillusionment Theme Icon
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Home and Belonging Theme Icon
Conscience and Principles Theme Icon
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...disapproving of Jean Louise going into town “like that.” Jean Louise tells Alexandra to tell Hank that she is “indisposed” when he comes later in the day to pick her up... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 11
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
Conscience and Principles Theme Icon
Mockingbird and Watchman Theme Icon
...down on Maycomb and thinks about her loved ones. She is about to jump when Hank grabs her from behind and pulls her down the ladder, furious. He takes her home... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 12
Disillusionment Theme Icon
Mockingbird and Watchman Theme Icon
...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)
Disillusionment Theme Icon
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...looks at Atticus and finds herself surprised to see that his appearance hasn’t changed overnight. Hank arrives and says he saw Jean Louise in the courtroom yesterday and waved to her.... (full context)
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Hank tells Atticus about a call he got from the sheriff that morning. A young black... (full context)
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...the case to a Federal court, and try to win on a technicality. Atticus and Hank start laughing about the NAACP. Jean Louise leaves the room. (full context)
Disillusionment Theme Icon
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...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)
Part 5, Chapter 14
Disillusionment Theme Icon
...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)
Part 6, Chapter 15
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
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...when she was back in grammar school and invited to her first dance. Jem and Hank were both seniors, and Jem was in love with a girl from a nearby town.... (full context)
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...he comes over and gives her a quick lesson. Jean Louise gets dressed up and Hank comes to pick her up. Calpurnia wants to sew the false bosoms into Jean Louise’s... (full context)
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Jean Louise and Hank arrive at their high school gymnasium and everyone is impressed by Jean Louise’s dress. Hank... (full context)
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Hank assures Jean Louise that no one saw, but she insists on being taken home. Finally... (full context)
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
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...whether she should confess or not, and how to explain that this was an accident. Hank offers to confess instead, but Jean Louise gets angry at him for trying to “protect”... (full context)
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...worded the same as Jean Louise’s. Mr. Tuffett angrily dismisses her. That night she congratulates Hank—who forged all the other confessions—and he says he got the idea from Atticus, whom he... (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 finds herself unable to say... (full context)
Disillusionment Theme Icon
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Hank first makes light of this, but Jean Louise firmly declares that she doesn’t love him... (full context)
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Jean Louise angrily interrupts until Hank quiets her. He talks about the Ku Klux Klan, saying that it used to be... (full context)
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Jean Louise asks if this means just going along with the crowd, and Hank says that men (more so than women) “must conform to certain demands of the community... (full context)
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Hank says that Jean Louise has special privileges because she is a Finch—she can break some... (full context)
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Jean Louise starts walking away angrily and Hank follows her, pleading. He asks what she expects him to do, and she says that... (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 his office)... (full context)
Part 7, Chapter 18
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...friends need you is when they’re wrong.” Jean Louise asks what she should do about Hank, and he agrees when she suggests that she should “let him down easy,” because he’s... (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 on their... (full context)