This publication event, although tinged with controversy, provides us with an opportunity to remind social studies and English teachers about the Library’s lesson plan, “To Kill a Mockingbird: A Historical Perspective.” The lesson plan is designed to help teachers provide historical and social context for the novel through the study of primary source materials available on our website. This lesson plan is one of many available on the Library’s Teachers Page.The publication of Go Set a Watchman offers a unique and unexpected opportunity for teachers to reconsider the way they approach To Kill a Mockingbird—which has been listed by the Library as one of the “Books That Shaped America”—in the classroom, and we’re interested to hear from teachers about if, or how, you plan to change the way they study the novel with students. Certainly, any discussion that involves looking at both novels will be complicated by the revelations regarding Atticus Finch’s character in Go Set a Watchman. However, as former Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey notes in a Washington Post review of Go Set a Watchman, examining the extent to which Watchman echoes Mockingbird provides readers the ability to explore “the evolution of a writer and her story through the process of revision.”
Finally, here’s a question for all of you who have finished reading Go Set a Watchman: How, if at all, has reading it affected your opinion of the characters, themes, and events in To Kill a Mockingbird?
We look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments section below.