Tag Archives: Harper Lee

Losing your free will to your beliefs

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Textbook brain

Old patterns in our working brains could use rewiring from time to time. A decade ago, pop science asked if we were left brained or right brained. Now that question has been tweaked to: is your brain conservative or liberal? Conservative ideas are connected to strong emotions and spring from deep inside the brain from the region of the amygdala. While in liberal brains, parts of the anterior cingulate cortex light up, as these areas are involved in reasoning out conflicted issues. It could be that such partitioning will always be imperfect like everything else in life. We could be conservative about some things and liberal about others.

Often I come across readers and commenters indignant when newer analyses or younger readers find older, beloved works of literature or art to be racist or sexist. The year-end Christmas special of Sherlock Holmes: The Abominable Bride was trying to make up for the original, which had mostly minor submissive female characters dedicated to the male universe of Sherlock Holmes. As a young child, I would curl up with Conan Doyle’s stories with nary a consciousness that my gender was being excluded in some way. With dawning adulthood, I realised my existence had been circumscribed by way of gender, and that I could never be a Holmes or a Watson without upsetting or upending the world in which I lived. My society had chosen for me the limited role of Mrs Hudson.

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Coming to terms with silence

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Warning, Spoilers Ahead, Do Not Read, if you haven’t read Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee.

My country is Maycomb county.

I felt restless and disillusioned after finishing Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee. But unlike before, I was glad to be unburdened of my illusions and happy for the scales to finally fall from my eyes. After all these years, it turns out that Jean Louise Finch and her father Atticus Finch were casual racists. At first Jean Louise is furious when she finds out her father is a gentleman racist. She goes into a rage and is about to leave Maycomb when she is slapped into submission by her uncle. As if her fury about her father’s truth was just ‘womanly hysterics’.
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