Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Is there a reason you're trying to be subtle in saying that Scout could be a lesbian?

So for Harper Lee fans, today is D-Day: Go Set a Watchman has been released and I personally just checked in roughly a dozen copies here at my library and sent them on their merry way to customers.

But what about Maureen Corrigan's NPR review of Watchman? Is it just me, or is she suggesting that Scout is a lesbian, without actually saying as much, and that Harper Lee, who has never married, didn't have the language or the "social imagination" to describe that experience? And if you aren't savvy to what exactly Fun Home is and who it is by, that reference may sweep right past you.

And given that we've had the language of the gay experience (or at least the homosexual experience) for a good 100 years before the writing of Watchman (the 1950s), even if in veiled terms reminiscent of what Ms. Corrigan is doing herself now in the 21st century, and that in To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee shows herself to have quite a bit of "social imagination," why Corrigan's namby pamby, tiptoeing around the issue now?

I mean didn't gay marriage just become the law of the land? Is she worried that she might turn someone off from the book by *gasp* saying that Scout could potentially be a dyke? Is that somehow worse that Atticus joining the Klan?

Read the review at NPR

6 comments:

Joe said...

I read Corrigan's review, and I'm currently reading the book. Her review makes absolutely no sense whether she things Scout is a lesbian or not. Furthermore, I'm not sure what book she read and reviewed, but it doesn't seem to be Go Set the Watchman because Scout does want to marry Henry until she finds out things about him that she doesn't want to know, I'm sure she's just disappointed that Atticus has changed his tune about race in his older years, but Lee is writing about the changes in men she knew who changed after Brown v. Board was decided by the Supreme Court. We, in Alabama and the South, are seeing the same thing today in relations to LGBT rights in the aftermath of Obergefell v. Hodges.

Writer said...

Re: being a lesbian. You mean other than Corrigan's reference to the musical Fun Home which is about a little tomboy of girl coming to terms with her lesbianism?? Yeah, sure sure, no mention of Scout being a lesbian at all. #sarcasm

Writer said...

As for the rest, I think the point in the changes of Atticus is that people change as they get older. And I think the changes have to been seen in reference to Scout having lived in New York. It would be interesting in the light of Watchman to re-read Mockingbird. Is there the possibility that Atticus hasn't changed that much? How one acts towards one individual wrongly accused could be quite a bit different than how one acts towards a whole mass of people.

Joe said...

I never doubted that Corrigan was hinting that Scout was a lesbian without actually saying it outright. I just think that Corrigan is reading into something that's not there. Just because Scout is a tomboy doesn't make her a lesbian, it merely means she was raised with little female influences. I think Corrigan's reference to Fun Home was out of place and out of context with the book itself.

Joe said...

I completely agree. People do change as they get older, but I don't think that Atticus has really changed at all from his characterization in TKAM. What this book is about is Scout coming to terms with Maycomb after living in the New York and the changes she realizes in Maycomb.

Writer said...

Hey, Joe. I was going by what you said in your first comment: "Her review makes absolutely no sense whether she thinks Scout is a lesbian or not." So I think we're actually on the same page though - I mean, about what Corrigan is suggesting. My point was that it seems weird in 2015 that Corrigan is tap dancing around just coming out and saying it...even if she may be wrong.

There's another review from the NPR program Code Switch, and they say basically what you say re: the change in Atticus. They also go as far to say that the new book is much more nuanced than Mockingbird. So I'm looking forward to reading it.

As a boy who left home and goes back on occasion, I'd have to agree that the changes are probably more in Scout than in Maycomb.