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The Theme Of The Ability To Overcome Adversity In Films And Literature

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Adversity is a difficult or unpleasant situation, whether it be because of lies, a disability, a bad upbringing or because of where you are from. Overcoming adversity provides the opportunity for people to discover what they are capable of. The theme “the ability to overcome adversity” is portrayed throughout the film The Truman Show – Directed by Peter Weir, the short story Job – by Dan Preston, the novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime – Written by Mark Haddon and the Film The Freedom Writer – Directed By Richard LaGravenese.

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The film the Truman show directed by Peter Weir portrays the theme “the ability to overcome adversity” after Truman realizes that all his life has been fake and everyone he thought cared about him was a lie. Truman grows up believing that the actors in the show are his real family. The creator of the film demonstrates this by showing a back story of Truman and his father on a sail during a storm, his father dies, however, Truman was not aware it was all fake. He suffered the pain and the difficult situation of having to grow up without a father, he was traumatized so much he could no longer go near the water. The creator of the film highlights the theme even more as Truman is shown towards the end of the film facing his fear of going near water and grasping the opportunity of escaping. From this, we can learn that the difficulties we come across in life can really help you discover who you are as a person by the way you deal with your situations and how strong you are capable of being.

In the short story Job by Dan Preston, the story follows the life of a young boy, Job who grows up in an unfair upbringing and in an unfair environment. Job who was raised by his mother who in fact was not a great role model, was brought up in a lifestyle where he had to do everything for himself, at birth “he was stunted by his mother’s cigarettes and hits from the P pipe”, and his own mother the only person that should be taking care of him hated him. The author Dan Preston demonstrates the theme “ability to overcome adversity’ as he shows that even though Job smelt of cigarettes and was not raised the best still arrived at school “with a spring in his step, and a twinkle in his eye,” he had pushed all his difficulties aside revealing the strong and confident little boy he really was. This teaches the reader that no matter how many difficulties you come across at the different stages of your life, you are able to get through it.

In the novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, By Mark Haddon, the theme “the ability to overcome adversity” is shown through a young boy Christopher who although is extremely smart has autism which makes life extremely difficult for him. Christopher throughout the novel makes his thoughts very clear about how “ he doesn’t like talking to strangers, or loud noises or new places” this illustrates the many fears Christopher tries to avoid in life. An example of this is when he needs to ask a stranger for directions, which was very overwhelming for Christopher. Another example of when Mark Haddon demonstrates the theme is when Christopher takes on a big adventure towards the end of the book as he wants to find his mother in London, this relates to the theme because he had to go to many new places which he does not like, but he overcame it by continuing on till he arrived in London. After reading this novel we can learn that even those with a disability are capable of overcoming adversity. At the beginning of the film Freedom Writers, directed by Richard LaGravenese, the producer of the movie showed a group of students from an “at-risk English class” from Woodrow Wilson Classical High school. The class was made up of segregated groups based on race and which gang they came from. They were degraded, no one had respect or consideration for them, and they were viewed as nothing. A diary entry written by one of the students illustrated this “see, being poor, black, and living in the ghetto, was kind of like a disease, sort of like AIDS or cancer.” The producer of the film is trying to show us that some kids live a life so horrible and they cannot just hide away they have to face it forever. Looking from another students perspective, he describes his life as if it is like a war “your friends died of gunshots my friends also died of gunshots. The thing is… my country is not at war, or is it?”. The teacher of this class believed in the kids and encouraged them to write about their lives for people to hear. By doing this, the students realized that although they thought they were different, they all had similar lives. The theme ‘ability to overcome adversity’ is demonstrated when the students through sharing their stories, come together and support one another to overcome their own difficulties. The producer teaches us that no matter what race or color your skin is, everyone faces difficulties in life and that with the support of others you can get through them.

Through the chosen films, short story and novel, we are able to notice the theme ‘the ability to overcome adversity’. We learn that overcoming adversity individually enables you to discover who you are and how strong you can be. That even if you are born into a difficult situation or with a disability you are able to get through it, and that with the support of others you can get through any difficulties you have to face.

03 December 2019

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