Although, many might not know the name Groucho Marx, I am sure that most know his famous quote, “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it is too dark to read.” This quote appears everywhere from social media to the walls of several elementary schools across the country. The quote is passed around to encourage people to read and to love their pets, but is it accurate? I believe whole heartedly that it is.
Throughout our nation’s history humans have had companion animals. For years, people have sought the companionship of dogs. Dogs are loyal friends that love their owner more than they love themselves. As for me, I seek the company of my lab for the simple purpose that she doesn’t have any of the drama and stubbornness of other people. A dog can show more genuine affection in the simple wag of a tail than a man can give with a hundred handshakes. The genuine happiness and loyalty that a dog has for its owner develops one of the strongest bonds possible.
A good book can bring the same type of happiness and joy as a dog. In an excerpt from George R.R. Martin’s book A Dance with Dragons “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.” Books give the reader an escape from reality to live inside a fantasy story, to live another life with each book read. Books can be relived with repeated reading. They build a bond that in the end is even stronger than the bond between a human and a dog. The dog will one day die, but books will live forever.
A dog’s life will sadly come to an end. It doesn’t matter how much medical treatment is available for, he will sadly pass away. It is truly devastating when a dog, one of human’s best friends, dies. Books, however, do not die. What is written will live for centuries.
I believe that in the quote, inside a dog is represented by the dog still being alive. Outside of a dog is represented by the time after the beloved companion has passed. Throughout my life there have been several dogs that I have loved, each eventually died of old age. The bond between my dog and I was inseparable, except by death. Books have always been there and no matter how many years have passed the bonds remain every time I reread a book.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect those of Oklahoma Welcome or of Wister Public Schools or any employee thereof. We make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability or validity of any information presented by individual authors and/or commenters.
Andrew is 16 years old and currently a junior at Wister High School, along with his classes at the high school he is also enrolled in two classes at Carl Albert State College.