Study Guide

Go Set a Watchman Falsies

By Harper Lee


Booby Trap

Okay, everyone. Let's get the laughs out now.

Scout wears a pair of fake boobs, known as "falsies," to a dance in one of her teenage flashbacks. The falsies are like the chicken cutlets of the 1950s—but they're connected to one another like a bolo. (This makes them ideal for hanging like a Christmas tree ornament.)

Scout is insecure about her figure. She hasn't yet developed, and she has a flat chest. In her dress for the dance, she thinks she looks like a bowling pin, but Calpurnia tells her, "You look that way all the time" (15.13). She doesn't mean it in a cruel way. She just wants Scout to accept herself.


This whole flashback serves as a transition for Jean Louise, from overall-wearing tomboy to prom-dress wearing debutante. She enters the dance, and it's like a scene out of Twilight when the crowd is "visibly impressed with Jean Louise" (15.62) and she dances every dance perfectly, "with only one mistake" (15.68).

Soon, however, her fake boobs turn crooked, and Henry casually leads her from the dance to fix them. He tells her she is pretty the way she is and throws the falsies into the dark:

No one seemed to notice the change in her appearance, which proved, Henry said, that she was vain as a peacock, thinking everybody was looking at her all the time. (15.108)

Except—as we see in the quotes above (15.62)—everyone is looking at her all the time, except when her boobs are crooked.

The falsies get Henry in trouble, illustrating a major difference between him and Jean Louise: She is exempt from scorn in Maycomb. Henry is not. Thankfully, due to Henry's ingenuity, and Atticus's advice, he gets himself out of it.

What do you think: is this whole scene charming, like a romantic comedy, or self-indulgent and narcissistic, like many of Jean Louise's actions in this book?