You might think of a watchman has having a duty, whether it's to watch a fort or to patrol a shopping mall on a Segway. But the Watchman of Go Set A Watchman is a person's conscience, and that watchman comes into play in many different areas. One of which is the fact that a person has duties other than their job. They have duties to their community, to their friends, and, especially in the case of giant Southern clans (and sometimes Klans), they have duties to their families.
Questions About Duty
- Why does Aunt Alexandra believe it's Jean Louise's duty to return home to Maycomb? Why does Uncle Jack believe the same thing at the end of the novel? Do he and Alexandra pressure Jean Louise for the same reason?
- Why did Calpurnia leave her duty as cook and housekeeper for the Finch family between Mockingbird and Watchman? How does she feel about the Finch family now that she lives away from them?
- Which duty does Atticus Finch perform better: his duty as a father, or his duty as a lawyer?
Chew on This
In Alabama, it seems that a person's duty often comes at the expense of his or her individuality. Both Jean Louise and Henry are pressured into doing things they'd rather not do, in the name of duty.
There is a race aspect to duty as well. Many upper class white people in 1950s Maycomb, like Aunt Alexandra, believe that both poorer white people and all black people have a duty to serve them.