[Blackstudies-l] Colin Dayan: Waiting for the New Atticus Finch

Maria Lima lima at geneseo.edu
Tue Jul 14 11:41:54 EDT 2015


   lisaparavisini posted: " Colin Dayan has published a most perceptive
piece on the debates about the character of Atticus Finch and the new
Harper Lee novel, Go Set a Watchman. Here is an excerpt, with a link to the
full article below. The popularity and heart-warming poignan"    Respond to
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<http://repeatingislands.com/author/lisaparavisini/>  Colin Dayan: Waiting
for the New Atticus Finch
<http://repeatingislands.com/2015/07/14/colin-dayan-waiting-for-the-new-atticus-finch/>
by
lisaparavisini <http://repeatingislands.com/author/lisaparavisini/>

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*Colin Dayan has published a most perceptive piece on the debates about the
character of Atticus Finch and the new Harper Lee novel, Go Set a
Watchman. Here is an excerpt, with a link to the full article below.*

The popularity and heart-warming poignancy of “To Kill a Mockingbird” buries
the very real activism and resistance of black citizens in Alabama and
throughout the South right at the time that Lee wrote her story. Its
publication made invisible the very people it claimed to care about.

In 1955, Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American from Chicago was
beaten, shot and lynched by whites for allegedly whistling at a white woman
in a Mississippi store. Alabama was the scene of some of the most
significant struggles in the civil rights movement. In 1956 Rosa Parks
refused to give her bus seat to a white man. So began the Montgomery bus
boycott, led by Martin Luther King Jr. The same year, King’s home was
fire-bombed by local segregationists. White rioters at the University of
Alabama became so murderous that Autherine Juanita Lucy, its first black
student, was forced to leave the campus. Ordered by the courts to be
readmitted, she was then expelled by trustees. Nearly a year later, the
city of Montgomery decided to comply with a Supreme Court ruling declaring
segregation in buses illegal.

Surely a writer must be excused for leaving out historical events in favor
of a less exacting but lyrically powerful story that harkens to the
Scottsboro Boys, nine blacks falsely charged with raping two white women in
Alabama. But the story of a black man, Tom Robinson, falsely accused of
rape by a white-trash woman plays into stereotypes as powerful as they are
long lasting. Though defended by Atticus and presented movingly by Harper
Lee, Robinson remains a victim, a cipher caught in the cauldron of hate.
That is why “To Kill a Mockingbird” is acclaimed as a classic American
novel. In this country, especially in the 1960s, could a novel about black
people who do not go gently into the night be called classic?

For the full piece go to
http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/7/waiting-for-the-new-atticus-finch.html
  *lisaparavisini <http://repeatingislands.com/author/lisaparavisini/>* |
July 14, 2015 at 10:15 am | Tags: Colin Dayan
<http://repeatingislands.com/?tag=colin-dayan> | Categories: News
<http://repeatingislands.com/?cat=103> | URL: http://wp.me/psnTa-lCK

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