Study Guide

Go Set a Watchman Chapter 13

By Harper Lee

Chapter 13

  • This chapter begins Part V.
  • Jean Louise tries to tiptoe to her room, but she's stopped by Aunt Alexandra.
  • It's almost time for the Coffee.
  • Alexandra is furious to hear that Jean Louise went to visit Calpurnia.
  • She is fed up with black people, saying "Keeping a n***** happy these days is like catering to a king" (13.16).
  • Ugh.
  • Jean Louise doesn't want to hear that language, so she sets up the living room for the Coffee.
  • At 10:30AM, "the magpies" (13.29) show up. Hmmm, noticeably not mockingbirds.
  • She makes small talk with them, and boy is the talk small, all about babies and husbands.
  • Jean Louise nicknames each cluster of young women: the Newlyweds, the Light Brigade, the Diaper Set, and the Perennial Hopefuls.
  • She doesn't have any idea what to say to any of them.
  • One of the girls compares the N****es up North to Communists, and Jean Louise can't keep her mouth shut anymore.
  • She tells the girl to stop acting like all the self-respecting white people are going to go off and marry N****es or something.
  • And the girl clarifies that she's talking about "the trashy people" (13.102).
  • Someone interrupts this intense discussion, asking Jean Louise how New York is.
  • She tells a story about a man pushing her on a bus.
  • Oh, and Jean Louise pushed him back. "After I pushed back I realized I'd become a part of it" (13.125).
  • One of the girls comments that people up North are so different; she doesn't understand how Jean Louise can live with them.
  • Jean Louise says you don't notice differences there, and the girl says she must be blind.
  • Jean Louise retreats into her own head, thinking "I need a watchman to lead me around" (13.135). Well, go set one, gurl.