The Before Story
Before I delve into the immense impact that Harry Potter has had on my life, I must explain my background. I come from a country where things like food are scarce; where life does not include the luxury America provides. Instead, a country that hardens the heart and demonstrates how harsh the world can really be. Morocco lacks numerous things but most of all a voice for its people. Hovering over my people much like The Party in George Orwell's 1984, our monarchial government defines everything a country shouldn't place in a position of power. Understanding the lack of success I would achieve there, my parents made a pact to bring me to the most remarkable country on Earth. I stepped into the USA on August 28, 2000 at the age of five and ever since then my parents have taught me that by leaving behind all their family and abandoning their secure jobs, their future rest on my shoulders. It is a burden none of my peers can even begin to understand and for years I searched for a way to express the pain that this burden carried however I was unsuccessful until Harry Potter came along.
My tale begins on a Tuesday morning at Oakridge Elementary School in the second grade. My teacher had come up with a project for that semester in which we were to read a book and describe how it related to our life. "Pick wisely' she explained, "because if you pick up the wrong book you'll be burdened with reading another book." As you can imagine, the only word I picked up was burdened and all of a sudden a surge of pain rushed through me. Memories began to flood my mind, and I was reminded of my own burden. That day, while exploring her bookshelves, I discovered Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and decided it would be my book because the front cover looked appealing. I began reading the book immediately and became extremely interested in it. I had finally found a way to escape the pain and delve into a sophisticated world of Magic and Muggles. This book had shown me the heart of J.K. Rowling's novels in that it reminded me of my life in many ways. For example, Hogwarts seemed to be Harry's true home away from the terrible treatment enacted by the Dursleys and in many instances the tale of Harry Potter was my Hogwarts away from my burden. I understood Harry's feeling of not fitting in very much, and when Dumbledore spoke of the love that Lord Voldemort would never know, I was utterly astounded. How much better was I than Voldemort, for not embracing this burden like Harry had his own and instead cursing it like Voldemort did with death? Sure life isn't all sunshine and rainbows. It is a cruel and brutal world and no matter how tough you are, it can really take its toll. From my experience, I have learned that the true measure of a person's spirit is how hard he or she can get hit and keep moving forward with optimism and sanguinity.
Over the years, the story of the Boy Who Lived impacted my life by showing me the happiness that hope can give you. While researching a paper one day, I came across a doctor by the name of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross who had experienced the same burdens that I had to deal with, in that she traveled from Switzerland to continue her studies. Kübler-Ross perfectly depicts how Harry saved me by declaring, "People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the
darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within." 1 I had buried my feelings deep down inside and put a smile on my face for so long that I forgot who I was and what I was doing here. J.K. Rowling's novels aided me in ascertaining the true light inside me. For example, through Harry she instilled bravery in me, and through Hermione she taught me to make the best out of any situation I might come across. Also, Rowling taught me humor always can help change a mood, through Ron. Her books have brought tears to my eyes (and believe me, I rarely ever cry about anything but the burden). The death of the great man Severus Snape in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, showed me that to live a life of regret and sadness is not to live at all. Rowling has given me hope for a future I could not have imagined before. Sirius Black explained to Harry in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, "You're not a bad person, just a good person that bad things have happened to. The world isn't split into Death Eaters and good people, we all have light and dark." 2 These examples remind me to look to a bright future regardless of what obstacles I may face.
The Continuing Story
I am currently a sophomore and am involved in many activities including football, track, and wrestling. I hope to one day become a heart surgeon as well as a writer. Because of Harry Potter, I approach life in the sense that I was meant to go through those obstacles, so that I may become stronger for the challenges in my life ahead. I have learned to move beyond my burden, and accept life as it comes. Harry Potter has inspired me to write tales so that perhaps one day, I can return the favor to Rowling and instill happiness and hope in someone else.
1. Kübler-Ross, "Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Quotes - BrainyQuote."
2. Yates, Order of the Phoenix.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Directed by David Yates. Burbank: Warner Bros. Pictures, 2007.
Kübler-Ross, Elisabeth. "Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Quotes - BrainyQuote." Famous Quotes at BrainyQuote.http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/e/elisabeth_kublerross.html (Accessed 12 July 2011)
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 2007.
---. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 1998.
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