Do you think that ease does not challenge us and that we need adversity to help us discover who we are?
Everyone goes through their lives seeing and experiencing different things. At times, these different situations may cause one to act differently than another would in the same situation. It can be readily stated that “Ease does not challenge us; adversity helps us discover who we are.” Through literature, one can see how this statement proves to be true.
In the play, “The Enemy of the People”, by Henrik Ibsen, the protagonist, Dr. Stockholm, faced adversity, and through that, was able to discover his true beliefs and who he was. Before Dr. Stockholm was put in a situation where he had to face adversity, he had lived his life with mild ease and regularity. He acted just like everyone else in the town he lived in. Years later, he discovered that the popular bath houses was infected with bacteria. Determined to spread his findings, Dr. Stockholm went to the newspaper and the local governing office to try and make his discovery known. However, both the paper and the government weren’t as inspired to really let the public know about this serious problem due to the popularity of the bath houses. As a result, Dr. Stockholm was forced to face adversity and find a way to achieve his previously set goal. Through adversity, Stockholm was able to truly see how his personality was. He was able to understand his severe discontent with the government and society as a whole. In essence, Stockholm was able to discover his actual self. This, however, only happened when he was faced with a challenge.
The book, “Where the Heart is” by Billie Letts also used adversity to portray it’s characters true being. The protagonist, Novalee Nation, was placed in a situation where she had to realize and conquer adversity. Novalee was a young girl of 17, who was pregnant. She had experienced extreme hardship her whole life in the trailer park environment that she had previously resided in. She also received lots of abuse from her boyfriend who impregnated her. In the story, he had left her stranded in a K-Mart all by herself, while she was pregnant. All alone, Novalle had to find a way to keep herself and her baby alive. Along the way, through adversity, Novalle found her true, kind self. She also made countless discoveries through meeting different people. Among those things was her true love for photography and literature, and most of all her yearning for love in her life.
In the face of adversity, we all act differently. We each have different ideas and methods that we are accustomed to use for different situations. By acting and making decisions on our own, as we are often times forced to do when given a challenge, we are able to find out who we truly are and what we truly believe in. The characters Dr. Stockholm and Novalee Nation are examples of that kind of people in literature. However, in literature and life, it is all the same. Ease does not challenge us; adversity helps us discover who we are.