Because it portrayed Atticus Finch as a racist and a segregationist, when Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman was published it caused much public dismay. But the book’s classism has not yet aroused such dismay. This essay argues that the antiracism of its main character—an adult Jean Louise Finch—is articulated in part by snobbish opposition to what she deems to be “white trash” attitudes. In this way Lee’s critique of a steeply stratified southern society is compromised by her transferring the symbolic rhetoric of defilement from a racial “other” to a class “other” assumed to be racist. Studying the classist premise of Watchman, then, helps attune us to its operation in To Kill a Mockingbird.

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