Go Set A Watchman Jean Louise Character Analysis

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Within a novel, characterization is used to convey a theme, as the way characters speak and make choices often reflect key ideas the author wishes to illustrate. Therefore, by understanding characters and the decisions they make, readers gain critical insight into themes and motives of the author. Specifically, the actions of a character will parallel or contrast the main ideas of the theme, thus highlighting it further. For example, in Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, the character Jean Louise, a relatively-progressive young woman with experiences in NYC, returns to her southern hometown Maycomb, where her character, and her actions, contrasts with the ideas of the South. Through characterization, Jean Louise’s choices parallel a key motif of the novel, the importance of forming one’s own beliefs. For instance, in Chapter 1, immediately after returning to her home, Jean Louise’s Aunt, Alexandra, criticizes her lack of conservative clothing, to which Jean Louise responds with resistance, denouncing the lack of liberal ideals in Maycomb. Through this passage, readers gain much insight into Jean Louise’s character, along…show more content…
In a novel where liberal ideals and forming one’s own morals is emphasized, Jean Louise, a young woman highlights these ideas. During this time period, there was a de facto filial piety, where the younger members of a generation followed their elders, this was even moreso for women, who still faced inequality everyday. Thus, by characterizing Jean Louise as a progressive, young woman, Harper Lee tactfully instills the theme upon readers, that questioning society and forming beliefs true to one’s self is key. This is further seen in how Jean Louise returns to Maycomb and uproots beliefs that had been underlying for decades, and she does so by questioning those she had once seen as role models, and forming her own
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