Study Guide

Go Set a Watchman Marriage

By Harper Lee


Chapter 1

The possessor of the right to kiss her on the courthouse steps was Henry Clinton, her lifelong friend, her brother's comrade, and if he kept on kissing her like that, her husband. Love whom you will buy marry your own kind was a dictum amounting to instinct within her. (1.25)

Henry isn't Jean Louise's kind. Not because he had a "trash" background as Aunt Alexandra says, though. Jean Louise doesn't care about that. She does care that Henry is a hypocrite. But why can she forgive Atticus but not marry Henry?

Chapter 2
Jean Louise "Scout" Finch

"Cousin Edgar still courtin' you, Aunty?" asked Jean Louise. "Looks like after eleven years he'd ask you to marry him." (2.24)

If Jean Louise knows anything, it's how to tease people. And Aunt Alexandra is basically perfect (at least, she thinks and acts as though she's perfect), so Jean Louise picks up on one flaw: her marriage.

Chapter 3

Alexandra had been and was still technically married to a large placid man named James Hancock. (3.4)

Here's the flaw Jean Louise picks up on: technically. Aunt Alexandra lives apart from her husband, and he's happy about it. That's not the traditional way things are done down South.

Chapter 4
Jean Louise "Scout" Finch

"She wants a father instead of a husband, then." (4.25)

This is a complicated statement about marriage. Jean Louise definitely wants a man like her father to marry. However, she realizes she greatly misunderstands her father. Henry actually is very similar to Atticus, but once Jean Louise realizes she doesn't like Atticus all that much, she definitely doesn't want to marry Henry.

"I'm so afraid of making a mess of being married to the wrong man—the wrong kind for me, I mean." (4.30)

What does Jean Louise mean here by "the wrong kind"? The racism issue hasn't come up yet, and she doesn't seem concerned by class differences. What, then, makes Henry the wrong kind?

Chapter 5
Henry "Hank" Clinton

"Then marry me."

"Make me an offer." (5.240-5.241)

Jean Louise is teasing Henry here, but is there any kind of "offer" he could make that would have her seriously considering marriage with him?

Chapter 11

"Miss Scout, different folks get married for different kinds of reasons. Miss Alexandra, I think she got married to keep house." (11.123)

As usual, Calpurnia gives some of the best advice in the book. People don't have to get married for love, although it's romantic to think so.

Chapter 13
Jean Louise "Scout" Finch

"If we married […] I'd be churched to death, bridge-partied to death, called upon to give book reviews at the Amanuensis Club, expected to become a part of the community." (13.66)

Jean Louise doesn't want to lose part of her identity. If she stays in Maycomb, she will. And if she marries in Maycomb, she might as well kiss everything goodbye.

"Isn't it fairer for a man to be able to see what he's letting himself in for?"

"Yes, but don't you see you'll never catch a man that way?" (1.84-1.85)

Why is all the pressure for a woman to "catch" a man and not the other way around? Why are they still living like they're in Jane Austen days?

When they walked out into the night, Jean Louise wondered what Alexandra would do if she knew her niece was closer to marrying trash than she had ever been in her life. (3.95)

Jean Louise isn't close to marrying Henry here because she loves him. She considers marrying him only as an act of rebellion.