Friday, August 07, 2015

Shit English Teachers Think About During the Summer

Thoughts on Harper Lee

GSaW is about Scout developing her individual moral consciousness, separate from her Father. The moment happens, but we are not given evidence of how she has really changed. I think Lee used that as the central storyline, the racial tensions are context. Yet by the time she finished TKM, she seems to set aside this feminist awakening and instead focuses entirely on the race issue. In part because she goes back to tell the story from Scout’s childhood.  But I also see that she in TKM actually embodies Scout’s awakening in GSaW and writes the story that demonstrates her feminism without having to explicitly use it as a plot device.  I know this collapses Lee into Scout, which may be unfair. In her case, as these are her only two extant works, it is certainly tempting.  

In any case, she had to write GSaW first. She had to write her way through Scout's (and her own?) awakening. And thus Lee found her power and her voice, which became the younger Scout and her ability to tell Lee's story about racism and the South.  

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