Study Guide

Go Set a Watchman Chapter 16

By Harper Lee

Chapter 16

  • Jean Louise meets Hank at the office.
  • He's heading out for coffee (lower-case coffee, not a capital Coffee with annoying young women), and Jean Louise tags along.
  • But she still can't bring herself to talk to Hank.
  • At the café, he asks her how the capital-C Coffee went, and she complains about Hester, the young woman who parroted everything her husband said.
  • Hank implies that's what marriage is: "losing your own identity" (16.19). But he means hers, the woman's… not the man's.
  • This starts a fight, where she tells Henry she doesn't even love him anymore and she won't marry him.
  • She's still upset he went to that meeting.
  • He tries to tell her the meeting isn't that bad. He says the Klan used to be respectable. Heck, even Atticus went to Klan meeting.
  • Cue explosion sound effect.
  • Henry explains that Atticus went just to see what the men were doing there, not necessarily because he believed what they were saying. So is this all a big Three's Company-style mix-up?
  • Not really.
  • Henry still says that men must "conform to certain demands of the community" (16.55) to be a part of it.
  • He also criticizes Jean Louise's entitlement. As a Finch, she can do things that Henry never could. And he thinks she takes it for granted.
  • She calls Henry a "scared little man" (16.80) and storms out of the café.
  • Henry follows, and she tells him that she wants him to not go to Citizens' Councils.
  • He says he can't. He has to live in Maycomb, and he has to fit in.
  • Well, that's it for their relationship. Jean Louise says she can't live with a hypocrite.
  • A voice behind her speaks:"Hypocrites have just as much right to live in this world as anybody" (16.99).
  • You guessed it. It's Atticus.