I finished (allegedly) Harper Lee's novel, Go Set a Watchman
, moments ago. There may be spoilers ahead, sort of. I will keep the big one in spoiler tags.
I had read a lot of the news stories coming around before the novel came out, and truthfully when I bought I didn't know exactly what I was getting into. Atticus Finch was no small influence on my life. My first cat was named Atticus, I too was raised by my father, and my decision to go to law school and become an attorney so I could tirelessly work against injustice felt, to me, a future as noble as Atticus Finch.
I finished this novel the week before I move to go to law school, and leave my father. If I believed in souls, I would believe my father and I share one, we are very close.
As I read this book, it felt like a love letter to vegans. Not because there are any vegans in it; there are none. It felt that way because we have a central character who found herself, somehow, on the other side of the moral tracks from her father whom she loves, and her community and culture that she was raised in. It was unsettling (to say the least) how her moral guide post, her father, could possibly be on such different sides of her new found ethical line in the sand. Her intended was indifferent and going along with the community because he didn't want to make waves. "it means I sometimes vote against my principles." It is a common vegan dilemma. We open our eyes to cruelty all over the animal kingdom; we have a hard time coming to terms with where we stand in our families and cultures.
How do you look at your father who orders veal the same way again?
How do you reconcile all these people who love animals, and eat them?
Can you really marry someone who is "not your kind?"
While this book focuses on race, it applies to all who stand against the norms of a society for ethical reasons.
And Scout is a spectacularly imperfect person. She is
racist herself, and hollers against her own father's racism because he is organized about it.
Bigger spoilers ahead:
Many vegans rail against animal cruelty but continue weird specist prejudices. I do, everyone does. I love dogs far more than I love other animals, and when I hear stories of dog's being treated poorly, it tugs my heart more than other animals.
It's not important. What is important is how we, as individuals and a group, reconcile in the end.
Any other thoughts?