on the very first page of the novel, the reader gets a glimpse of the importance of history, and a feeling of connectedness to it that is important in the lives of the people in the novel. (A couple of hints for consideration; why are some people reluctant to throw things out... and many people have a great reluctance to move from their homes.)
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Scout narrates about the battle of Hastings, Simon Finch and her other recollections of history in the American South. Your question is very personal in nature. My experience certainly won't be the same as yours. I think, however, that our connection with the past shapes who we are. It's all about identity. Humans need to feel that they belonged to something. A connection to history helps define their own world and, with some, shape their future. I just saw a commercial the other day for a website called"ancestry.com" or something like that. This was an advertising pitch to the masses to rediscover their identities. Apparently connectedness is worth allot of money!