This week, I reread Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird to get myself prepared for the sequel Go Set a Watchman that’s coming out in July. I’d forgotten much of the plot so it was great to refresh my memory.
In the novel, the narrator Scout tells the story of the events that shaped her childhood. This retrospective lens makes for a lot of beautifully naive statements. One of them really resonated with me and I wanted to share it with you:
“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”
Harper Lee – To Kill a Mockingbird
In this quote, Scout explains that she used to regard reading as a natural action, as much inscribed in her than breathing. Throughout the novel, we never really get to know when she actually started reading but her brother Jem says that she’s always been able to. Therefore, it’s as if the ability was innate to her. For a lot of us, reading is also an important part of who we are and we often take it for granted. I used to think being able to read was normal until my grandpa moved in with us and my mom told me he had never learned how. At that moment, I felt so sorry for him because I realised all the things reading brought to me and how he would never be able to experience them. I feel like I can relate to Scout because I realised that reading was a privilege and should be cherished.
On a larger scale, this quote shows how crucial it is not to take things for granted. Many times, you realise you are attached to someone or something when you’re about to lose that someone or that something. You don’t appreciate them while you can.
Because I’m getting into cheesy territory and I’m not sure I really want to, I’m going to end it here.