Analysis Of Scout’S Quote From Harper Lee’S To Kill A Mockingbird

“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing. ” - Scout

I found this quote to be of particular interest as it is not only rather deep, philosophical commentary but moreover because it concerns something I think most people can find relatable to a certain degree. The feeling Scout expresses, which reduced to its core essence describes the practice of taking something for granted, can be related to daily life in a variety of ways ranging from the darker; taking loved ones, your health or life in general for granted, to the more mundane; only realizing what a privilege it is to breathe effortlessly once you have a stuffy nose.

As previously mentioned, I believe that the meaning of this quote differs depending on how deep you analyze it. I think it is personal to everyone, because everyone has experienced a lack of appreciation once in their life. But for me personally, I do think about this more often than I would think most people do. I think about this when I meet an elderly family member to when my bus card is about expire and I need a new one. I think about it when I talk to my mother, and I think about it when others talk about their parents (plural form). Yet I think it’s natural and common for people to forget to think about all the things that mean something to us. You can forget things easily and become spoiled or ungrateful. I do not judge, it happens to the best of us. Even though the quote is rather deep, it does not affect the storyline as much as one would think from a first glance at it.

The quote is from when Scout cries to her father about new teacher. Her teacher tells her that she should not read at home anymore yet Atticus and Scout compromises and they continue, as long as it stays a secret. I think the quote is rather cute and well detailed in the story. I can really see Scout’s panic and frightened reaction when she realizes the nice moments with her father might be gone. She portrays it as the biggest catastrophe in the US at the time, which for her it might be. But I thought it was quite cute. “Du saknar inte kon förrän båset är tom” My mother always reminds me that; “Du saknar inte kon förrän båset är tomt”, which I thought was funny due to it being a very easy-going and comic Swedish saying, yet when young Scout said it, it could easily become a famous philosophical quote.

Scout compares reading to breathing, maybe because for her it was that big of a deal, or maybe because she then realized what a privilege life is. One does not love breathing, we take it for granted and when someone suddenly stops doing so, we panic. We panic even though we have been doing so our entire life.

15 April 2020
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