Go Set a Watchman | Study Guide

Harper Lee

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Go Set a Watchman | Part 3, Chapter 9 | Summary



Atticus Finch is described as a true friend who is consistent in character and action. He is respected by all who know him, including his children. At 48 he was widowed with young children to care for. With the help of Calpurnia, a black cook, he raised his children, proving to be a devoted father whose children often tagged along with him to the courthouse. As Jean Louise's brother, Jem, grew up and took an interest in girls, Atticus took his place as Jean Louise's friend. With the help of his brother, Jack, the two men launched her into adulthood. As an adult, "She did not stand alone, but what stood behind her, the most potent moral force in her life, was the love of her father." As a young adult, she was oblivious to his influence on every decision she made; "she did not know that she worshiped him," writes the narrator. Guided by the Atticus she had internalized, she felt safe.


Jean Louise internalized Atticus's character to the point that his thoughts were her thoughts. She views him not only as her own moral compass but as the conscience that Maycomb needs. At some point, her respect for her father morphed into worship. She viewed him as perfect, and her beliefs were his. This worship turned into a dependence to which Jean Louise was blind. She viewed herself as an independent, modern woman who had left home and made a life of her own. Yet, she had not separated herself from her father. Instead, she relied on his views to guide her moral choices.

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