The Significance Behind the Title of Go Set A Watchman; Midnight Release on July 14, 2015

Go Set A Watchman Tivoli

We went to the midnight release of Harper Lee’s most recently published book at the Tivoli theater in Downers Grove. The $36.00 ticket included a panel discussion led by teachers from my district’s High School, trivia games, and a showing of the film To Kill A Mockingbird. At midnight, it was legal to pass out the first editions of Harper Lee’s latest published book, Go Set A Watchmen, which was written in the 1950’s and rediscovered last fall.

Leaning over to me, as we waited for the film to start, my friend asked me, “Did you know that the title has a biblical reference?”

“No!” I exclaimed.

But, it’s true. The title comes from this verse in the Old Testament:

For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.” ~Isaiah 21:6

“How many people in the theater know this?” I whispered. And we decided it must be shared. With a fair amount of trembling, I walked down the aisle from the back where we sat to the microphone in the front as the panel was still entertaining questions from the audience, and I gave my name. Then I read the scripture, to enhance the literary perspective of the readers there who ought to know that Harper Lee chose the beauty of the King James Version to make a point…that someone ought to declare what he sees.

I don’t know if it was well received. There was a rather full pause as I made my way back to my seat, and my friend whispered to me that my voice didn’t waver very much. But, it doesn’t matter to me. I love this fact. I love that Lee’s title bears a connection to my favorite book ever.

And now, to add to the stack of books on my mission style desk, is this beautiful first edition.

Go Set A Watchman novel