“To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” and “The Great Gatsby” are not only three books we all read in High School but also they can teach us a lot about the journey of self-discovery.
In First Grade, Mrs. Smith would write on the chalkboard 2 plus 2 equals what? She would ask for volunteers and I would eagerly raise my hand and wave it side to side like a crazy person. She would call on me and I would say, “ummm FIVE!” She would say, “No Freddie,” and the boy behind me would whisper, “It’s okay Freddie, you’re smart. Try again next time, you got this.” By HS, Mrs. Duda would ask the class, “Explain the symbolism behind the Mockingbird and how it relates to you?” Again I would give a wrong answer but this time the boy behind me would say, “You’re so dumb. Dude don’t even try.” Honestly, my reading comprehension wasn’t the best but that wasn’t the point. Somewhere between First Grade & HS we start to judge others and our curiosity loses its innocence. Miss Maudie explains to Scout, “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but… sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” Thus to kill a mockingbird is to destroy innocence. In our journey of self-discovery, it’s important for us to remember to be ourselves and not let what other people think bring our curiosity down.
The journey of self-discovery doesn’t come without life’s obstacles. In “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” Huck & Jim turn to the Mississippi River as a means to freedom. The river lets them escape from reality. Jim is floating towards the free states and Huck is running from his abusive father and the restrictive society. However they soon realize the Mississippi River is a short-term escape because life happens! River floods bring them in contact with bad people and thick fog causes them to miss the mouth of the Ohio River, which was to be their route to freedom. How many times has “life” happened to you? How do you cope with hard times? Do you turn to short-term pleasures? Life is a game of decisions like good versus evil and pleasure versus pain. When economic struggles hit my family and my mom developed cancer did I fall? Yes! However, I was blessed to have good people around me to keep me on track. It’s important to have a good supportive circle around you to take on the big world. Find your Huck. Find your Jim!
“The Great Gatsby” encompasses the future beyond High School. Jay Gatsby sees the Green Light, which represents his hopes and dreams for the future. Maybe you’ll be the first in your family to go to college. Maybe you aspire to travel abroad and expand your horizons. Whatever your hopes and dreams look like it’s important to believe in yourself first. Mindset is everything. Gatsby’s ability to turn his dreams into reality is what truly makes him “great.”
Scout learns people are truly good, Huck learns you can never really escape your past, and Gatsby teaches us about being true to oneself. In sum, the people you surround yourself with are the ones that will either help or hinder you from reaching your dreams so choose wisely. Be cognitive of your past and where you come from but use what you’ve learned along the journey to make your dreams come true.
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