Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee Summary Study Guide

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Plot Summary Part 3

The only thing one might infer is that as a result of this incident Jean Louise said she loved Henry.

Back in the present, Jean Louise tells Henry she will not marry him. Even the memory of him misusing her padded breast cups is not enough to save their relationship. She doesn't like his racist attitudes.  She saw him at the council meeting with the other racist white people.

Henry tries to defend his presence at the council meeting. He says that he worked himself up from "white trash" and became a lawyer, but if he wants to get clients and succeed he can't alienate the local townspeople, which is why he had to go to the meeting. "I've got to live here, Jean Louise . Don't you understand that" he says. Apparently, she doesn't. Jean Louise is not at all sympathetic.

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Jean Louise confronts Atticus. Atticus says that she can't expect backwards black people to live with equal rights among white people.  He sees the NAACP as an evil organization which is trying to stir up trouble and bother people trying to be left alone, again framing his message as one of individual rights.  Atticus says that black people shouldn't be in white schools because they would drag down the quality of education. Atticus adds that if blacks were given equal rights, an ignorant black person like "Zeebo", Calpurnia's son, would be elected mayor, and he would have no idea how to run the local government. Atticus says that blacks are still "in their childhood" as a people.

Jean Louise gets angry. She says she grew up in Atticus's home and never heard any of this from him. "You neglected to tell me we were better than the Negroes, bless their kinky heads, that they were able to go so far and so far only." She calls Atticus a coward and a tyrant.

Jean Louise says she will never forgive Atticus because now she feels she can never belong in Macomb. She regrets not being raised as a "dim witted" girl who didn't think critically or have a mind of her own. She regrets not being filled with racist ideology so she can be happy living in Macomb.

By the way, even though Jean Louise says these things, we can be pretty sure she doesn't mean them. She doesn't really wish she was raised as a racist. But at the same time  she is upset that she will never fit into her ancestral home. It's this lack of belonging, which she had but she has now lost, that upsets her the most. She calls Atticus a son of a bitch and leaves.

She goes home and has a bitch fight with Aunt Alexandra. They call each other names and then fight and make up. Then Uncle Jack comes by and smacks her in the face, twice. He is a doctor and does this out of medical necessity because Jean Louise is hysterical. After smacking her, he tends to her wounds and plies her with whiskey. As he smacks her in the face so hard that she bleeds he calmly says, "I am trying to attract your attention."

Uncle Jack tells her that she idolized Atticus and never learned to think for herself. In other words, she never really grew up. Now that she has learned that Atticus has done something that she disagrees with, for the first time she has become her own person. Uncle Jack tells Jean Louise that she still has more growing up to do. She has to accept the fact that people can have different ideas than she does, even ideas that she disagrees with. He even tries to convince her to move back to Maycomb. Jack tries to tell her that even if you don't agree with people you can still be friends with them and maybe even influence them.

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