Could you explain the quote “I learned nothing from you except how to be suspicious. I didn’t know what hate was until I lived among you and saw you hating every day” from the book Go Set a Watchman?

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In Harper Lee’s novel Go Set a Watchman , Scout’s aunt Alexandra (Atticus’s sister), who is angry at Scout because she went to visit Calpurnia, organizes a coffee for her niece and invites a few of her lady friends over. The main topics of conversation are usually family, married...

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In Harper Lee’s novel Go Set a Watchman, Scout’s aunt Alexandra (Atticus’s sister), who is angry at Scout because she went to visit Calpurnia, organizes a coffee for her niece and invites a few of her lady friends over. The main topics of conversation are usually family, married life, or the town’s gossip, and Scout feels uncomfortable and out of place. But when “mongrelization” and communism are brought up, Scout says that “it takes two races to mongrelize” and begins to wonder how and why everyone in her hometown of Maycomb, Alabama, is so hateful.

She thinks about her childhood and how she was raised and how she often feels the need to defend her community in New York, especially when she thinks that the city is telling her that she’s not “reacting according to their doctrines regarding her kind.” In this context, she answers:

Please believe me, what has happened in my family is not what you think. I can say only this—that everything I learned about human decency I learned here. I learned nothing from you except how to be suspicious. I didn’t know what hate was until I lived among you and saw you hating every day. They even had to pass laws to keep you from hating. I despise your quick answers, your slogans in the subways, and most of all I despise your lack of good manners: you’ll never have ’em as long as you exist.

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