Admirers of Harper Lee’s classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird have been shocked by the transformation of the lawyer Atticus Finch into a racist in the newly published Go Set a Watchman, set 20 years later. But psychologist William von Hippel says it should not necessarily be a surprise – he argues that it’s not unusual for people to become more prejudiced as they get older. This article contains language that some readers might find offensive.
Atticus may be fictional, but his transition from the lone defender of an unjustly accused African American in To Kill a Mockingbird to a 72-year-old who resists school desegregation in Go Set a Watchman is all too real.
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