Suspicious Sequel

Suspicious Sequel

Ryan Birchfield, Photojournalist

Harper Lee wrote an extraordinary piece of literature titled To Kill a Mockingbird. Here are a few facts about the novel:

  1. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961, less than a year after it was published.
  2. It has sold more than 30 million copies, and remains a widely read classic in schools across the nation.
  3. It is 384 pages long.
  4. 60 years after its initial publication, To Kill a Mockingbird is also getting a sequel, called Go Set a Watchman.

The topic most of the literary community is interested in currently is the last fact.  Controversy rages over whether or not the 89 year old writer was able to fully consent to the publication of Go Set a Watchman.  Critics doubt her mental state when she agreed to the publication of the novel for good reason: the novel was written in the 1950’s, before To Kill a Mockingbird, and is only now seeing the light of day.  Suspicious, don’t you think?

Go Set a Watchman was written before To Kill a Mockingbird; it was actually the inspiration for that classic piece of literature.  When Harper Lee submitted Go Set a Watchman for publication, the editors decided that the more interesting story was told in the flashbacks, and had Lee expand those flashbacks into To Kill a Mockingbird.  Thus, the parent, and now sequel, of To Kill a Mockingbird played a large role in the development of Lee’s book.  Without Go Set a Watchman, the world may never have been able to relish in the story of Atticus and Scout Finch.  However, one important question must be answered, will Go Set a Watchman live up to the legacy left by To Kill a Mockingbird? I asked two of Yorba Linda’s English teachers their thoughts on the subject.

Mrs. Shube expressed that she had “always secretly hoped for a sequel.  I didn’t think they’d ever release one, though.  I don’t think it will change To Kill a Mockingbird, since you can see the shades of who Scout will grow up to be in the novel.”

Mr. Cadra stated that he was “very intrigued that a new novel by Harper Lee will be published.  However, I am somewhat leery of the genesis and ‘finding’ of this ‘lost’ work.  I hope it does not tarnish the legacy of To Kill a Mockingbird.”

English teachers, fans, and critics alike can hardly wait to see if the sequel will hold up to the original classic.  For better or for worse, the novel will be released on July 14, 2015 by HarperCollins Publishers.