"Go Set a Watchman" as an Important Vegan Novel - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 07-22-2015, 02:42 PM
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"Go Set a Watchman" as an Important Vegan Novel

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:
Spoiler
She loudly proclaims she couldn't marry a black man while being furious with Atticus for being against integration.

But that's okay because humans are imperfect.



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.

Spoiler

Can we, as Scout did, disconnect ourselves from our loved ones and culture enough to have our own views and let others have theirs.

Can our loved ones do as Atticus did, and be proud of us for believing in something contradictory, and being brave enough to fight and argue for it.


Any other thoughts?
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"You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit.”
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
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#2 Old 07-26-2015, 12:00 AM
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I'm looking forward to reading it, once I find the time to.... I loved "To Kill A Mockingbird" probably for the same reasons you did.

I appreciate you hiding the spoilers. I wish I'd read it already, so I could talk with you more in depth about it. Now I HAVE to read it
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#3 Old 07-26-2015, 03:03 AM
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River, I have been putting off reading it because I am so upset about the whole situation. To Kill A Mockingbird helped shape my views on race and equality at a very young age in the 1960s.

I feel betrayed.
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#4 Old 07-26-2015, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by LedBoots View Post
River, I have been putting off reading it because I am so upset about the whole situation. To Kill A Mockingbird helped shape my views on race and equality at a very young age in the 1960s.

I feel betrayed.
Are you feeling betrayed because Atticus is a racist?

I actually wasn't surprised. My parents brought me up 'liberal' (in relation to where we lived and the political climate) and I sort of took what they taught me and ran with it. Now, I'm surprised at how conservative they are on matters that I feel passionately the other way for.

I think that's just how a lot of people work. Or maybe that's just how some people work and this is a book about that.

The lessons you learned from that book, are no different from the lessons I learned from my parents. Whether Atticus is a racist or not, what he put forward was a good idea- That people are just people. He may go back on that, but it doesn't stop the good idea being a good idea.

And maybe it just shows how a progressive in one era, can become a conservative in another. I mean, how often do we joke about people in the future saying things like "I can't believe they eat animals!". Right?

(Hope some of that makes you feel better).
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#5 Old 07-26-2015, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by LedBoots View Post
River, I have been putting off reading it because I am so upset about the whole situation. To Kill A Mockingbird helped shape my views on race and equality at a very young age in the 1960s.

I feel betrayed.
I did too before i actually read it. Truly give it a chance; I'm really glad I did.
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"You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit.”
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
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#6 Old 07-26-2015, 04:39 PM
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I did too before i actually read it. Truly give it a chance; I'm really glad I did.
I will read it. Maybe not right away.
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#7 Old 07-27-2015, 05:20 PM
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It's in my wish list on Amazon for my Kindle. Not sure if I will go ahead with it...I am intrigued, though.


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#8 Old 08-04-2015, 11:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LedBoots View Post
River, I have been putting off reading it because I am so upset about the whole situation. To Kill A Mockingbird helped shape my views on race and equality at a very young age in the 1960s.

I feel betrayed.
I think it's important to remember that this was originally the first draft of the novel that became To Kill a Mockingbird; it's not a sequel, even though it features characters with the same names in a later time period. It's more of an "alternate universe" take, where the first novel never happened. The Atticus Finch that helped shape your views did not turn into this Atticus Finch; rather, this one was rewritten to become the one you cherished.

Reading it as a sequel is like reading The Dark Knight Returns as a sequel to the Adam West Batman TV show because the Bruce Wayne character is older in it. It just doesn't hold up.
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