Speed Reads

Name games

What happens to people named 'Atticus' now that Atticus Finch is racist?

The much anticipated release of Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman has stirred up a lot of drama with its portrayal of Atticus Finch, the beloved moral lawyer and hero of To Kill a Mockingbird whose shadier, racist side is showcased in Lee's latest novel.

So what happens to all the sons named after the "good" Atticus, now? Amanda Nelson, the managing editor of Book Riot, weighed in about why she named her son after the lawyer — and their conversation to come:

I didn't name my son Atticus with the belief that he'd literally become a lawyer and fight this horrible bulls--t (though I would love it if he did). But I will do my best to ensure that both my boys are aware of the state of things and grow up to be men who make things better instead of worse. And they're functionally white (they are part Filipino, but not enough to show in their appearance), so making things worse would be so easy.

I've tied my son Atticus to this place with his name. I have no plans to ever leave the South, but I don't have that same expectation of my children. If and when Atticus leaves for wherever the grass is greener for him, he'll have to remember the troubled place he's leaving. It will rise up every time someone calls for him, and maybe he'll be tempted to be a little better, do a little better, that day. And no newer, lesser version of Atticus Finch can change that. [Book Riot]