So anyway, as I was preparing for the examinations that are to come, I realized that I forgot to post my polished. Sorry!
Independence In Adversity
Throughout history, humanity has been forced to face adversity in their lives. If the individual is willing to toil and persist against adversity, a difficult situation can be made into a great opportunity, one that will bring about change within the individual. Regardless of whether or not the individual is able to overcome the obstacle, the individual will still be able to feel the satisfaction of being able to endure all the labour. They may be able to become self-reliant, having confidence in their own abilities, as well as understand the importance of the difficulty they faced. In the face of adversity, a dependent, weak-willed individual’s identity may become one that is strong-willed and self-reliant, if the individual is willing to work hard and persevere.
The excerpt from Divisadero, by Michael Ondaatje, tells the story of a woman named Marie-Neige, who has lost her husband when he was sent to jail, her child when she had a miscarriage, and her own hope for success. Her final source of hope is her farm, but working on the farm alone, especially since she has very little knowledge of how to work the land, will be very difficult.Marie-Neige does not give up; on the contrary, she starts to labour on the land, using her ability to read to help her learn the skill of farming. She is able to do the work without the help of anyone else on the farm, and at that point, her identity begins to change, although it has not completely changed. Marie-Neige’s devotion to the farmis shownthrough the description of her work on the farm, and she is now becoming a true-farmer. Her identity completely changes as she is toiling in the farm, and this change becomes apparent in the quote, “She saw her work now as a path through the seasons, seeding onions and celery between February and April, leeks and winter cabbage from May to July”, (Ondaatje 2). Not only does this quote display her advanced knowledge and skill in farming that she gained, but it also reveals a change in Marie-Neige’s identity. She sees that her life is now tied to the land, that she must work hard on it in order for her to thrive. She knows how to apply her abilities in order to overcome an obstacle. And her identity changes. No longer is she dependent on her husband, Roman, for survival. No longer is she the woman who had learned to read from Madame Segura. No longer is she the woman who was void of hope. She is now the hard working, independent lady who is not only surviving, but also prospering.
Adversity plays a critical role in Marie-Neige’s changing identity. Marie-Neige is forced to stop relying on other people because of her husband going to jail, leaving her alone on the farm with help from no one. She is forced to accept her miscarriage, and move on with life. She nearly has a mental breakdown when she hears news of her last source of hope, her farm, being purchased; however, the turning point occurs when it is revealed that Lucien had purchased the farm for her. She now has control of the farm, meaning that she now is in control of her own future. She knows it won’t be easy, but she also is willing to work hard for it. As Lucien stated, “…she was now entering the world of the grower of the black tulip” (Ondaatje 3). She has changed, and become someone who is able to take care of herself. She won against her adversity, and now she can look back at how hard she worked, and take pleasure in it. Marie-Neige was able to make the jump, going from a world of reliance on others, into a world of self-sufficiency, hence, “grower of the black tulip”. With Lucien’s help, Marie was able to overcome her own obstacles, and during that process, her own identity changed due to the adversity she faced. She can now look back on her struggle with satisfaction, knowing that she was able to toil and persevere, and with some help, finally overcome her major obstacle, entering the world of self-sufficiency.
In my own personal life, I have been fortunate enough to have never faced the sort of adversity that Marie-Neige faced; however, my own adversity was at a great enough scale to be able to cause a change within my character. The most prominent bout with adversity which I retain in my memory, would be in my Grade 5 Language Arts class. I was quite the troublesome child, always procrastinating all sorts of work, and when the time came to finish it, I gave forth very little effort, unless my parents were helping me. Most of my teachers would disregard this characteristic of mine, as they could not have cared less, but my English teacher would not. She would make me continuously revise my work, if it did not meet her expectations. Eventually, even my parents got frustrated and told me to start doing my work on my own. So I decided to give more effort in my assignments, re-doing anything which I felt to be incorrect. I would still procrastinate, but I would give enough time to my schoolwork to ensure that it was of high-quality. Sometimes, this would involve even working into the darkest hours of night. Submitting my homework late was not an option. Through this sort of adversity, I was able to develop a strong work ethic, being able to rely on myself,as well as being able to envision high-quality work. Now I look back upon my Grade 5 hardship with pride, knowing that I was able to persist and continue working on my own, even when I had to sacrifice a portion of my sleep, because I was able to learn exceptionally useful skills that now make my life so much easier. I am happy that I had my Grade 5 English teacher, because since she imposed a sort of adversity upon me, I was able to learn skills which have proven to be invaluable in my life.
As people, we must learn the importance of adversity in shaping our identity, because, like Marie-Neige and my own Grade 5 self, we can learn skills we never thought we could master, as well becoming independent of other people. Most people try to avoid obstacles, by either running away, or by going around them; these are only temporary solutions, and later on, those obstacles will come back to obstruct their path. People must be willing to work hard and toil to keep their hope alive, and give those people a sense of fulfilment. Without adversity, people would be stuck in one spot throughout their entire lives, refusing to move out of their own comfort-zone. They would remain almost the exact same, from birth until they are at their death-bed. Through adversity, people are able to understand who they really are, and change. They are able to have confidence in themselves, to be independent of others, and through adversity, they are able to have hope for a better future.