Harry and Me: The Effects of “Harry Potter”

by Mouad

Abstract: This is the story of my voyage to America, the sacrifices my parents made including giving up seeing their family for over 11 years, and how Harry Potter aided me through my struggle with the burden that was placed on me. This essay depicts the life lessons I was taught and the light I discovered within myself. Harry Potter has helped me in ways no one can even begin to imagine.

How has Harry Potter affected your life? 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 – a life unlike the luxury America provides – instead a country that hardens the heart and demonstrates how harsh the world can really be. This country 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 their families and abandoning their secure jobs, their futures 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.” 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 divulge 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 and becoming consumed by this burden as he was. I was like Harry in that way.

Over the years, the story of The Boy Who Lived impacted my life by showing me the light as Elisabeth Kubler-Ross depicts in this quote. She says: “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.” 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 myself. 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 Deathly Hallows, has shown me that to live a life of regret and sadness is not to live at all. Rowling has given me hope for a future that I could not have imagined before. Sirius Black explained to Harry in 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.” These moments reminded me to look to a bright future regardless of what obstacles I had to face.

I am currently a sophomore and am involved in many activities including football, track, and wrestling. I often seem to be told I am very athletic and smart, but I don’t like to be arrogant. I hope to one day become a heart surgeon as well as a writer. 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.