“To Kill a Mockingbird” author Harper Lee, 88, announced on Tuesday Feb. 3 that she plans to publish her second book, “Go Set a Watchman,” in July 2015.
Lee’s first and previously only novel, set in Macomb, Alabama, is narrated by 6-year-old Scout Finch over the span of three years. This Pulitzer Prize winning novel has been read in thousands of classrooms since its publication in 1960 and was adapted into a 1962 Academy Award-winning film.
HarperCollins released that in “Go Set a Watchman,” Scout returns to Macomb 20 years later to visit her father, Atticus. The story was actually written before “To Kill a Mockingbird,” however, inspired by Scout’s flashbacks, Lee put aside the project and decided to write about Scout and her coming-of-age years instead.
Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” has been a part of the eighth grade curriculum for many years in the Westport Public Schools.
Coleytown Middle School language arts teacher Sara Camarro has read the entire book over 20 times and read some of the scenes over 100 times. While she can’t imagine “Go Set a Watchman” becoming a substitute for “To Kill a Mockingbird” in the curriculum, “I do think it would make a great pairing especially if the same characters are involved,” Camarro said.
Nicole Welch ’17 is also a fan of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and is excited to see how popular Harper’s new novel becomes. “Considering how embedded Harper’s novel is in our culture, I think that her new book will definitely have a lot of press,” Welch said.
However, some fear that a continuation to such a classic story will be disappointing. Maya Lawande ’16 is worried that a sequel will ruin the sacredness and originality of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
An article on Jezebel expresses that the publication of the novel was not entirely Lee’s decision. It claims that her sister, and former lawyer, Alice Lee passed away, leaving the reclusive and frail author, “vulnerable to people who may not have her best interests at heart.”
Lee has explained that one novel was always enough for her, however, according to the New York Times, she was urged by her lawyer Tonja Carter to continue her unfinished work.
Whether “Go Set a Watchman” was meant to be released or not, Harper Lee’s legacy as a classic American author will still live on for generations.