The Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird is different from the one depicted in the Go set a watchman. This can be clearly brought out by looking at his attitude towards the black people, his defense of Tom Robinson and his attitude in go set a watchman. Atticus Finch is a steadfast, honest and moral character in the “To Kill a Mockingbird”, by Harper Lee. He remains unchanged throughout his works. Atticus, based on the plot of To Kill a Mockingbird, starts as an upstanding citizen admired and greatly respected by his peers although he loses some ground in the trial. He is however, in the end, looked up by children and the community as a whole regardless of the strata. He is also portrayed as being wise, an avatar of integrity, king and honorable person who used his gift as a lawyer to defend a black man. People who went to law schools even wished to be like Atticus. On the other hand, “Go set a Watchman depicts Atticus as a racist who goes to an extent of attending a Klan meeting. He even utters works like “The Negroes down here are still in their childhood as a people” (Raasch 141-143).
His attitude towards the black people is different in the two works. In the “Mockingbird”, he defends the black people and even praised the American courts for pushing further the idea that all men were created equal. To puts across the idea of generalizing that black men are criminals to the jury. His argument is that having a few criminals in every race is common and having prejudices and discriminations towards the blacks is more of racial hatred. On the other hand, in “Watchman”, he shows his discontentment in the supreme court, which he initially had trust in, saying that he wants a state of his own. The fact that he even attended a Klan meeting shows the amount of hatred and suspicion he had towards the blacks (Harvard, 1682). He goes a notch higher to speak racist words like asking his daughter if she wants Negroes in churches and schools or even in the entire world.
Before the trial of Tom Robinson, the black people face a lot of discrimination and are despised as an inferior race. They are given less rights compared to their white counterparts. Maycomb uses Nigger as a common word for the black people. A lot of racism is brought out in the trial, but soon after, people begin to realize it is wrong. Mr. Ewell was rude to Tom Robinson in the manner he speaks to him. He shows no respect in his utterances that he has seen black nigger yonder (Raasch, 141-143). He, therefore, had no respect for the black community. In the defense of the black man accused of raping a white woman, Atticus does not hope to win the case but urges scout to uphold a sense of self-respect and justice. Comparatively, the trials of this black man, which is the storyline in Mockingbird, passes aside in watchman. It is further interesting that the guilty verdict of the black man leads to an acquittal in Watchman.
Atticus has his attitude shift in the watchman and begins to show hatred to the black people. This shift can be seen to be rooted and nuanced in the profound political complexities in the south. Scout is disoriented by this shift on her trip home as she learns that her father who had taught her the value of fairness and compassion was actually something else. She is, therefore, baffled and distressed. The father had initially shown impartiality in dealing with the blacks, and now he is against the people he had deemed as being equal to the rest. The hatred is further brought out in his words spreading inequality messages to the daughter claiming that blacks should be faced out in the world.
Both Atticus Finches can coexist in the reader’s mind. There is often an internal conflict in individuals between doing the right things and being themselves. This can further be attributed to the unconscious conflict between the structures of personality: the Id and the superego. The superego is more connected to reality and seeks to do what is good for the society. On the other hand, the Id seeks self-gratification and is detached from reality. The later can be attributed to his option of backing up the whites. The Atticus in the Mockingbird is geared towards the realization of the right goals in life. He aims at crystallizing the perception that all men are equal in the people’s mind. The Atticus in the watchman is complex and layered in his prejudices. He can be described as being a bigot. In other words, he is only human and a tool to show the level of racial bias has escalated in our society. Therefore, even in a reader’s mind, compassion and bigotry can reside in the same person resulting to racial bias that has mutated across generations and so hard to address.