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Every day, people are faced with challenges. Life has many ups and downs and it is important to overcome the obstacles you are faced with. The theme “No matter how much the world tries to hold you back, always continue with the belief that what you want to achieve is possible” is evident in the four texts “I too”, “Mother to Son”, “The Help”, and “Skyscraper”. We learn that being different shouldn’t stop you from achieving your dreams; it is important to persevere through adversity, life can become hard but you should always let your voice be heard even when being held back by others. When faced with a challenge, what we do with it determines our strengths and weaknesses, not the challenge itself.Being different should not stop you from achieving your dreams.
The two texts “I, too” and “The Help” help us to understand that being different should not hold you back. An example of this in the poem “I, too” by Langston Hughes is “I am the darker brother / they send me to the kitchen”. Through this, we can see that because of Langston’s colour he is driven to the kitchen, away from company. The adjective ‘darker’ has negative connotations of shadow, mystery and fear which shows us that Hughes lives his life in the shadows with fear and distress as he is being pushed away. The imperative “they send me” shows us that the whites had total control over the African- Americans as he is being commanded to go. The proper nouns ‘they’ and ‘I’ shows a clear difference between the whites and the blacks which suggests to us that there was a distinct gap between them. Langston responds to this challenge by saying “But I laugh… They’ll see how beautiful I am”. The verb ‘laugh’ shows to us that Langston is not letting the whites put him down because he is ‘beautiful’, he believes that his different skin colour doesn’t change his self-worth. I found this inspirational because I have learnt to be proud of my differences.
The challenge of being different is also seen in the film “The Help”. A character who portrays this idea is Skeeter, her differences are seen through her curly red hair, her single relationship status, and her desire to work in an era where women were confined to the house. Skeeter does not fit into society’s expectations because of her appearance and attitudes which draws her away from the other young women in Jackson. Even though nobody agrees with Skeeter’s ideas of writing a book about the maids’ stories, in the beginning, her mother slowly starts to become proud of her daughter which is seen here “Courage sometimes skips a generation, thank you for bringing it back to our family”. This highlights to us that even if you’re different from the others, you should always continue to do what you believe is right. I have learnt from these two texts that it is okay to be different and that you shouldn’t let anyone hold you back. This reminds me of the challenges I’ve been through because being born in another country makes you ‘different’ and stand out from the others however these two texts have empowered me to not worry about people’s thoughts and to embrace my past and nationality. It is important to persevere through adversity and not let anything hold you back.
The two texts ‘Skyscraper’ and ‘Mother to son’ show us the importance of persevering through challenges and rising above them. The poem ‘Mother to Son’ by Langston Hughes is written from a mother’s perspective talking to her son and showing us how she has faced adversity in her life by comparing hardships to a broken staircase. This is seen in the quote “It’s had Tacks in it, and splinters, and boards torn up”. This metaphor shows the reader that Hughe’s mother’s life has not been a smooth staircase which gives us the idea that her life has not been an easy path and that she had faced many obstacles along the way. The nouns ‘tacks’ and ‘splinters’ helps the reader visualise a rough, broken staircase, which represents the hardships in life. Langston responds to this by saying “I’se been a-climbin on, and reachin landin’s, and turnin corners”. This shows us that even though he is facing challenges, he is still pushing through and reaching a higher place. We can see that he is still climbing up the rough stairs through the present participle verbs which informs us that even though the world is trying to hold him back with a rough path, he is pushing through and rising above the challenges.
The theme of persevering through adversity is also seen in the song ‘Skyscraper’ by Demi Lovato, this is seen in the line, “Would it make you feel better to watch me while I bleed?”. Through this rhetorical question this we can see that Demi Lovato is facing adversity because people are trying to bring her down. “Watch me while I bleed” is a metaphor that shows us that the world is a harsh place and likes to bring people down by making them suffer. Lovato responds to this by saying “All my windows still are broken but I’m standing on my feet”. This shows us that even though people are bringing her down, by breaking her soul and confidence, she is still standing up high and persevering through the challenges. These two texts have taught us how it is important to not let the world bring you down and that you can achieve anything by persevering through adversity and not let it hold you back. These texts have made me think about how people at school get bullied and are held back from being themselves by other students, I know understand the importance of not judging people and putting them down as it hurts their feelings and stops them from being themselves. African-Americans have finally found their voice after decades of oppression.
The texts “The Help” and “I too” show us the challenges African-Americans have faced and how they admirably kept on moving forward to get their voice heard. The film “The Help” shows this idea through the scene of Aibileen getting fired by Hilly. Hilly, the white ‘celebrity’ of Jackson fired Aibileen to prove that she still has power and that the blacks do whatever is being ordered. This relates to the theme as blacks were being held back from achieving their dreams. We see a close-up shot of Aibileen up close to Hilly’s face and says “All you do is scam like to get what you want. Ain’t you tired Ms Hilly? Ain’t you tired?”. This quote shows us that Aibileen, the black maid, has now found her voice and is starting to speak up about the truth. Aibileen is not letting Hilly control her anymore, she is rising above the challenge of being oppressed and is seeking freedom.
The idea of African-Americans speaking up is also seen in the poem “I, too” by Langston Hughes. At the beginning of the poem, he says “They send me to eat in the kitchen when company comes” because he is “the darker brother”. We can see that because of his skin colour he is being pushed away. Langston response to this by saying “Nobody’ll dare say to me ‘eat in the kitchen’ then”. This shows us that Langston is saying that in the future ( “tomorrow”) he will be sitting at the table with everyone else and is not going to be sent away; African Americans will seek and achieve equality. Hughes proves that even though the world is trying to push him away, he is continuing with the thought that one day, in the near future, he will be accepted. I learnt from these two texts that African-Americans have faced many challenges but are starting to find their voice and fight back for their freedom. This links in with the Civil Rights Movement as the African-Americans fought for their social injustice to gain equal rights in the United States. Life can become hard at times, but it is important to not give up.
The texts “Mother to Son” and “Skyscraper’ show us how challenges in life may make us feel like giving up, but we should always continue to keep on going. The poem “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes portrays this idea through the quote “And sometimes going in the dark where there ain’t been no light”. The mother in the poem is saying that sometimes she has had to go through rough times in life and felt like it wasn’t worth it to keep on going. This shows us that life isn’t always an easy ride and that it is okay to face some difficulties. Langston addresses this challenge by saying “So boy don’t you set down on the step cause you find it’s kinder hard”. In this quote, the mother is telling the son to not sit down on the steps because of a difficulty in, but he should instead continue to climb up the stairs and rise above the challenge.
The song “Skyscraper” by Demi Lovato also shows this idea through the lyrics “Do you have to make me feel like there’s nothing left of me” This shows us that Lovato has faced hate in her life and that others have put her down so much that she feels like she’s worthless. She continues by saying “Like I’m made of glass like I’m made of paper”, the use of this simile shows us that others are treating her like she doesn’t have any self-worth. The nouns “glass” and “paper” are weak and fragile objects, Lovato is referring to them to show that she feels like can break easily because of the hard times she has faced. However, Lovato response to this challenge by saying “I will be rising from the ground like a skyscraper”. A skyscraper has connotations of being big, strong and bold, Lovato is saying that she is like a skyscraper has she is going to stand tall and proud even when the world is bringing her down. From the two texts “skyscraper” and “mother to son” I have learnt that it is important to not give in to hard times and to keep on going, reaching a better and higher place.
The texts ‘Skyscraper’ and ‘Mother to Son’ have reminded me of a rough patch I’ve been through in life and how sometimes you don’t see the light and feel like giving up, but these texts have reminded me that no matter how hard life gets you should always pick yourself up and keep on going until you reach a better place. In summary, the theme ‘no matter how much the world tries to hold you back, always continue with the belief with what you want to achieve is possible’ is evident in the four texts, “I, too”, “Mother to Son”, “The Help” and “Skyscraper”. This theme links the four text together through the ideas that different shouldn’t stop you from achieving your dreams; it is important to persevere through adversity, life can become hard but you should always let your voice be heard even when being held back by others. From these four texts, I have learnt that it is important to never give up and to keep on going, as long as continue with the thought that what you want is possible then you will achieve great things. This range of texts has shown me that life has many challenges but it is crucial to overcome them and to keep on rising up.
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