The Rise and Fall of Atticus Finch

- Metress, Christopher
Long before the publication of Go Set a Watchman, Atticus Finch had fallen on hard times. Beginning in the early 1990s, a new generation of readers started bringing To Kill a Mockingbird before the bar of judgment, putting Lee’s lawyer-hero on trial and warning us not to praise him as a model of courage and racial tolerance.

For some readers, Atticus’s depiction in Go Set a Watchman has only strengthened the case against him, exposing racist attitudes we should have noticed long ago. This presentation will explore the rise and fall of Atticus’s reputation over the last twenty-five years, and ask how much Lee’s second novel will affect our understanding of the first. Can Atticus Finch and To Kill a Mockingbird survive the growing case against them? With the jury still out, the verdict remains uncertain, and the reputation of one our great national heroes, and one of our most-beloved novels, hangs in the balance.

A microphone is requested.