Adversity- Something to Appreciate or Despise
Adversity- Something to Appreciate or Despise? BY mt1024 Adversity- Something to Appreciate or Despise? BANG! A gun is fired from down the hall, and one can hear the panicked screams of children and adults alike. There is a shooter in the school. You only have a minute at most before the shooter makes his way down to your classroom. It’s too late for a lockdown. Children are crying and you can’t calm them down. You feel like wailing and crawling under your desk like the child in the corner is doing, but you can’t. You’re the adult in this situation and you have to act like it.
The door is turning. You freeze. The shooter steps into the room and you feel like hell Just froze over. Why? Because the shooter is your son. The man you spent 15 hours in labor with is now pointing a gun at you. Why? Because you’re standing in front of a class of 25 first graders refusing to let him hurt them. It’s your life or theirs. YouVe had a good life, right? YouVe had the chance to experience life and all it has to offer. The kids standing behind you sobbing and shaking in fright however? They haven’t had the chance to experience high school let alone the rest of their lives.
Sad isn’t it? At this oment, you don’t care that you haven’t finished your coffee or washed the breakfast dishes. You don’t care that your bed is unmade or that you left the door unlocked this morning. Things that seemed so important months, days, or even hours ago seem trivial compared to what is happening right now. All you care about is keeping those kids safe. It’s your life or theirs. And in this moment, nothing is more important than those poor, innocent kids. You pick them. “Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant. In stressful situations, some people rise to the occasion hile others buckle under the pressure. For the most part, people are able to rise above the hardships they face and channel it into a positive experience that is beneficial to not only themselves, but to others around them. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Every once in a while, somebody comes along who can’t handle the metaphoric lemons that life throws at them and decides to transform all that pain into something negative and sometimes downright malicious.
While Horace is absolutely correct in saying that adversity can be a positive thing, he is wrong to assume that this is always the case. While the majority of the human population is able to overcome adversity and make it a positive experience, there is always someone who will find a way to make themselves the victim of a cruel life and inflict their pains on others. There are always two sides to every story. In every good story ever written, there needs to be a protagonist and an antagonist. Not everyone can be the teacher who sacrificed herself so that her students would live.
While there are the Victoria Leigh Soto’s in the world, there are also the Adam Lanza’s, Dylan Klebold’s and the Eric Harris’s. People like them, as horrible as they might be, were once the protagonists of their own stories. We don’t personally know the struggles that any of them had to go through or who the antagonists in their lives were. What we do know, however, is that vicious cycle of violence instead of channeling it into something of greater good. Often times, kids who get bullied go on to bully other children as well.
Children who go on to become the bully themselves are one reason why Horace is not 100% correct in saying that adversity elicits many talents that would have otherwise been unknown had one’s life been prosperous. By pushing their personal experiences on others, they are portraying harmful characteristics that should remain hidden. Luckily, it is more common for people to grow from the troubles that have haunted them in the past than retrogress and force the same faith upon others. Tragic events like the Holocaust show that no matter how difficult it may be, there will always be something good that comes out of it.
Although billions of Jews were being prosecuted, they found numerous ways to keep their spirits up. Families like Anne Franks went into hiding to avoid being taken by the German government and the Natzis. For two long ears, Anne and her family hid in a small annex with another family and a man she knew nothing about. In those two years, Anne and her family were not allowed to come out of the annex in fear of being caught. They were to stay cooped up inside no matter what happened around them. This really took a toll on the Frank family, especially Anne.
During the two years she was in the annex, she was depressed and sullen, though she did her best to seem optimistic and full of hope. She did this to help maintain her familys spirits. Before moving to the annex, Anne would speak her mind without care as to what the other person would think. After moving to the annex she learnt to keep her mouth shut and to try and avoid arguments as much as possible. This transition of her character demonstrates how much Anne has grown as a person because of her constant battles with adversity. Continuing with the Holocaust, non-Jews felt the effects of the tragedy going on around them as well.
Many Christians had friends and family who were Jews. Jews were separated from Christians and forced to wear Star of David as a symbol of their status in society. When Hitler started persecuting Jews, Christians started helping them hide so that they wouldn’t be taken away. Miep Gies- a young woman who helped the Frank family hide during their time in the annex- is one of many Christians who elicited talents that would not have been seen had the country been affluent. Not only did Miep provide food to the Franks, but she also kept them safe.
She made sure that no one would find out about the annex and would warn them when someone was supposed to stop by. In addition to all of this, Miep also helped raise the Frank’s spirits. She told them what was going on in the world around them, what was happening in her own life, and how characters were in TV shows/ what the latest scandal relating a certain celebrity was. By risking her life to help out her friends, Miep definitely proved that adversity can be a good thing because it leads to doing something one never thought they would. Another example of people overcoming adversity is the African Americans during segregation in the 1950’s.
At this time, African Americans, though free, had no rights in the community. Public facilities such as restaurants, schools, stores, public bathrooms and buses made sure to keep the blacks separated from the whites, under the Supreme Court case ruling Plessy vs. Ferguson. This case was the precedent to the Jim Crow laws that legalized egregation and set in motion the fght to equality. African Americans such as Martin unite everyone under a common cause. Martin Luther King Jr. often gave speeches about equality and the rights that they, as American citizens, deserved.
His most famous one, “l Had a Dream” reflects the Kings social experiences of the mistreatment of blacks. In his speech, King mentions having a dream that one day his children will be able to hold hands with a white child and that white child with an Asian child and so forth so that the children aren’t being Judged by the color of their skin, but rather by their characters. This dream of his was to stop racism once and for all. Rosa Parks helped contribute to the fight for equality by doing work for the National Association for the Advanced Placement of Colored People.
At the time of her arrest, Rosa was working as a secretary for the NAACP. Because of her arrest, the organization thought of her as the best candidate for seeking through a court challenge. Unfortunately, Rosa’s case got shut down in state court, but she did go on to become an important symbol of the Civil Rights Movement. She became the icon of resistance to racial segregation along with Martin Luther King Jr. Both of them isplayed characteristics of courage, determination, and pride. If the Civil Rights Movement did not exist, then nobody knows if Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King Jr. ould have become as influential as they were. It was their battle with segregation and equality that lead them to fght for their rights. Had they lived in better circumstances, they might not have been as great as they were. Lastly, even in literature one’s talents may be elicited when faced with adversity. In book series like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, you see the main character step up and conquer the challenges that they have to face. When He-who-shall-Not-Be-Named (Voldemort- *gasp* I SAID HIS NAME) killed Lily and James, Harry became the Chosen One.
As the Chosen One, he was destined to live a life of pain and suffering, constantly worrying about being hunted for something that was not in his control. Instead of feeling sorry for his self, Harry rose up to the challenge and defeated Voldemort time after time throughout the entire series. In almost every single book of the series, Harry had to deal with the death of someone who was close to him. Most people would be contemplating suicide if they ever had to deal with half of the things that Harry had o deal with in his six years at Hogwarts.
Near the end of the seventh and final book, Harry learns that “neither one can live with the other” meaning that in order for Voldemort to finally be killed, Harry needs to die as well. While most people in his position would be terrified and confused about what to do, Harry readily sacrifices himself, knowing that Voldemort’s reign of terror needed to end. In the Percy Jackson series, Percy Jackson finds out that he is a demigod, otherwise known as half human- half god. While this might sound like a dream come true to most people, it is actually nightmare in disguise.
For there to be demigods in existence, there also needs to be monsters. Every story needs a bad guy, right? Well in this story the demigods are the protagonists and the monsters are the antagonists who try and make the demigod’s lives miserable. Luckily, they don’t succeed. Similar to Harry Potter, Percy has to constantly battle an antagonist who wants to see him dead. Percy doesn’t let this stop him though. As a matter of fact, this makes him even more determined to succeed. By the end of the first series, Percy has managed to defeat the Titans, and save Camp Half-blood in the process.
His bravery and loyalty to the camp and his him, he won’t back down when it comes to an obstacle he has to face. Because of this, he too is a character who elicits many talents that may have lain dormant had he not had to face adversity. In classic works of literature such as A Tale of Two Cities and The Scarlet Letter, main characters have risen to the occasion and shown positive character traits that would not have been acknowledged had the person not been exposed to hardships in his or her life. A prime example of this is Sydney Carton’s courageous decision to sacrifice his life for the one that he loves.
When Charles Darnay was in danger of being persecuted by the French government for treason, Carton drugged him and made him change positions with him so that he would continue to live while Carton died. Carton promised the woman that he loved that one day he would do something worthwhile for her to constitute for the miserable existence he’s had all these years. By taking Darnays spot at the guillotine, Carton shows strength and passion that was not portrayed in the beginning or middle of the novel. Only when faced with a difficult decision did Carton step up and be the man e always wanted to be.
In the Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne leads a lonely life filled with solidarity with the exception of her young daughter, Pearl. After committing an act of adultery, Hester is punished by the settlement and forced to wear a scarlet “A” upon her bosom. Because of this, the town shuns her and her daughter. When Hester was first accused of being adulterous, she was given the option to tell who the baby daddy was and lessen her punishment, or bare it with pride. Hester being a proud woman, refused to tell, saying that she would rather take the towns mockery ver loosing the man she loved.
For seven years, Hester manages to keep herself in isolation from the town. In the beginning it is the town that wants nothing to do with Hester, but towards the end of the novel it is revealed that Hester no longer wants anything to do with the society that is so close minded and blinded to the truth. While being shunned and mocked everyday for seven years can take its toll on a person, it benefitted Hester in the long run. Because of her isolation and her independent way of thinking, Hester was able to live a more honest and truthful life.
It is quite obvious that Hester is not the only one in the Puritan community who has ever committed a sin. What separates her from everybody else is the fact that she is able to confess to it when no one else is willing to. Even Dimmsdale, the reverend of the Puritan congregation, who constantly preaches honesty and how one needs to remain pure, couldn’t find the courage to come forth and confess his guilt in being Pearl’s father. This demonstrates how strong Hester is and how she was able to overcome adversity in a way that made her a better version of herself than she could ave ever hoped for.
The world is filled with adversity- financial status, crime, stress, bullying, torture, depression, etc. Regardless of age, size, ethnicity, or gender everyone faces adversity at one point in their lives. Without adversity people cannot grow as individuals. The saying “learn from your mistakes” is directly related to adversity. If one lived life with no obstacles, then they would be as naive as the day they were born. Our purpose in life is to better ourselves and to contribute to society in a positive manner. When faced with difficult obstacles in life, we are forced to ake a change to overcome it.
Whether that struggle is being diagnosed with cancer or simply being fired from your Job, the struggle is in fact real. Any situation that individual to decide how they will react to that alteration. Some will rise to the occasion and think of it as chance to improve their lives and start fresh, while others will crumble to the ground and retrogress until they are worse off than before. The clich© saying “mind over matter” may be considered when talking about the affects of adversity. Ultimately, it is up to the individual how they react to it.