22nd August 2018

Significant Connections Essay

The theme of never loosing hope and staying determined through hardships and adversity to ultimately reach a positive outcome is shown through the books “Soul Surfer” written by Bethany Hamilton, “Touching The Void written by Joe Simpson, and the films “The Pursuit of Happyness” directed by Gabriele Muccino and “127 hours” Directed by Danny Boyle. All the main characters in these books and films learn that by never giving up and staying determined when going through hardships will help them to overcome their adversity. Everyone is driven by something to succeed. We all have something that pushes us and motivates us to achieve our dreams and goals. Each of these characters had something different that drove them to overcome their adversity and push through their hardships, so the theme “How we are all driven by something to overcome any hardships” is also evident throughout these texts and films.

“Touching The Void” written by Joe Simpson teaches us that even if the odds are against you, if you stay determined and never lose hope, you can achieve anything and get through any adversity. When Joe is in the crevasse, with a broken leg and no water or food and no one to call for help, the possibility of him getting out of it alive was very slim. But when he sees no way of getting out of the crevasse upwards, he decides to lower himself down deeper into the crevasse. When Joe sees the light beaming from the crevasse he feels determined to get out of there, this is shown where Joe states “Now I had a plan…The change in me was astonishing. I felt invigorated, full of energy and optimism” Joe was now driven by the possibility of making it out of this situation alive. This is different to the film “The Pursuit of Happyness” and the book “Soul Surfer” because Bethany and Chris both got their determination from something, Bethany was driven to become a professional surfer and Chris was driven by his son to give him a better life, where Joe was driven my his own determination and will to survive.

“I could see possible dangers, very real risks that could destroy my hopes, but somehow I knew I could overcome them.” Joe never doubted himself and never lost his determination and hope that he would make it out alive. Joe’s story teaches the reader that even when the possibility of success seems small, if you have the determination anything is possible. This is also shown where Joe is overcoming the worst of his journey back to base camp. Where he has to climb over rocks, slopes and dodging crevasses, all with his broken leg. Joe refers to “the voice” as his determination which is pushing him on. “The voice was clean and sharp and commanding. It was always right, and I listened to it when it spoke and acted on its decisions while the other mind rambled out a series of disconnected images, and memories, and hopes, which I attended to in a day dream state as I set out obeying the orders of the voice…I had to get to the glacier” This quotes also gives a wider world meaning about how our subconscious mind comes into action when we are in an extreme situation, another example of this was when Joe states “The voice told me exactly how to go about it, and I obeyed while the other mind jumped abstractly from one idea to another”. Touching The Void shows us that to overcome adversity you must never loose your hope and determination because without any of these aspects Joe would have lost his life. Joe’s story expresses what will power, determination and hope can do to get you out of a difficult situation. 

The film “The pursuit of Happyness” Directed by Gabriele Muccino, presents the theme of never losing hope and staying determined through adversity to ultimately reach a positive outcome. In the movie Chris Gardener and his son live in poverty. Chris puts his family’s savings into buying bone density scanners that he is carrying throughout the movie, the scanners are a symbol of the burden that he carries as they are the reason they are in poverty because he cannot sell enough of these scanners to provide for his family. A close up shot in the first scene was taken where Chris is looking in at his son sitting in the day care centre through the barred windows. The close up shot shows how Chris feels that his son is imprisoned by the poverty of his family. It captures how Chris feels trapped by the poverty which he blames upon himself.

Chris’s struggle of adversity reaches a tipping point when they are forced out onto the street when Chris cannot sell enough scanners to pay the rent. The scene shows Chris and his son lying on the floor of the train station’s public toilets. His son is sleeping on him, Chris is in tears and a close up shot of his face showed the pain and emotion. A birds eye view angle was also taken that looked down on the scene. At this point in the film the viewer can see that Chris and his son are rock bottom, with no money and no place to live. But Chris has to maintain a positive attitude and stay strong for his son. These shots show this as he was only crying and upset when is son is asleep.

Determined to give his son a better life, Chris enrols in a stockbroker internship program, the odds are against Chris, the possibility of getting the job was very slim, he has two hours less every day than the other interns because he has to get in line at a homeless shelter with his son before 5 o’clock each day, so they would have somewhere to sleep for the night. “I made up my mind that when I had children, my children were going to know who their father was” This quote from the film shows us that Chris is driven by his son to give him a better life. This teaches us that Chris is determined and would never give up because he needs the job to provide for his son and give him a better life. This also shows a wider world meaning, and teaches us a lot about human nature, that everyone is driven by something to become successful. Everyone has something that pulls them along and gives them the motivation they need to succeed.

Chris remains strong and doesn’t tell anyone of the position he is in. This is shown where the manager asks Chris to move his car and pay the meter. Chris only has the small amount of money left in his wallet which is only enough to pay the parking meter once. Chris still pays the parking meter with the money he has. This shows us that Chris doesn’t let the poverty stop him from helping others. He doesn’t let the poverty define him. Chris works extremely hard to fight for the job. This is shown where the camera angle of Chris working in the office is a close up of his face concentrating. Chris ends up getting the job and in that moment Chris feels that he has succeeded. That all of his hard work has paid off. “This part of my life, this part is called happiness”. Chris said this as the camera angle was a birds eye view of Chris walking in a crowd of people in the city. Chris is crying and throws his fists in the air, jumping. This shot is very important to the film as it shows that he has overcome his adversity and succeeded. At the start of the film when Chris is trying to sell the bone density scanners he is looking at a crowd of people from the other side of the street and says: “They all looked so damn happy”. So the two shots at the beginning and end of the film are linked which gave greater meaning to the film. Another example of this is where throughout the film Chris is striding uphill but the last shot showed Chris and his son walking hand in hand down the hill that he was constantly running up. This also shows how Chris had achieved his goals and overcame his adversity.

Chris never lost hope that he could get the job, even known the odds were against him. He pushed through the adversity and reached the positive outcome. In the end Chris Gardener was a very successful stock broker and sold multi million dollar deals. His life and his sons life drastically improved with money coming in and Chris was very fulfilled that he had reached his goals and dreams. 

In the book “Soul Surfer” written by Bethany Hamilton, the viewer sees through Bethany’s eyes what it was like to rebuild her life after the shark attack. The viewer learns that if you have a passion for something nothing can get in your way of achieving that goal. Bethany is having a hard time accepting her amputated arm and everything she now has to do differently. She feels angry that this has happened to her, her surfing career was blossoming before the attack, she was making her way up the world ranks when the attack happened. Her life has been revolved around surfing for her whole life, so she couldn’t accept that she would never be able to surf again. “nothing could keep me out of the water.” Throughout the book Bethany never lost her hope that she would one day surf again. This teaches the reader that Bethany is determined to get back on her surf board, because it is the thing she loves the most. She wasn’t going to let her amputated arm stop her from becoming a professional surfer. “Everybody knows that it takes two arms in order to surf…but even before I got out of the hospital in fact, I was talking differently about the possibility of surfing again.” “nothing could keep me out of the water.” This shows that even known people were doubting that she would be able to surf, she didn’t let that get her down. She maintained her positive attitude throughout the whole book. This can be compared to “The Pursuit of Happyness” because like Chris who was driven by his son to give him a better life, Bethany was driven by her passion for surfing to never give up hope that she would make it as a professional surfer, because it had been her dream since she was very young. Bethany had to overcome adversity in her journey to get back onto the waves and become a professional surfer. She had to go through rehabilitation to learn how to manage with only one arm and learning how to surf again. Bethany’s story can also relate to Chris Gardeners story in “The Pursuit of Happyness” because Chris never gave up on his dream of giving his son a better life. Both of these people overcame their adversity by never losing hope and staying determined. Bethany is now one of the worlds best surfers, even with only one arm. The reader can learn from this that if you have a passion for something and if you really want to succeed in something, anything is possible if you put your mind to it. 

In the film “127 Hours” directed by Danny Boyle, Aron gets his hand caught in between a large rock and a wall in the canyons, that was trapping him from getting out. Aron faces many difficulties that would have most people giving up. But instead Aron didn’t lose his hope that he would survive, this is shown where Aron talks to himself trying to calm himself down. “Don’t lose it Aron, don’t lose it”. He only had a very small amount of water left, he was getting severely dehydrated and started to hallucinate. Throughout the film his hallucinations were ideals about the future and flashbacks of his past and showed things that he regretted. He made video diaries talking about what he would do differently. During one of his hallucinations, Aron is carrying a small boy on his shoulders laughing. This was a hallucination of what Aron wanted his future to look like. This shows the reader that he was driven by his past and future to survive. He was driven to survive so that he could have his own family. Aron was determined throughout the whole film and never lost hope. This is shown where the camera angle is a close up of just Aron’s face as he is working to free himself from the rock, it shows Aron’s face sweating with tears in his eyes. This shot showed how determined Aron was. Aron’s survival story can be compared to Joe Simpsons survival story in “Touching The Void” because like Joe, Aron didn’t give up and had to overcome his adversity with determination to survive.

All of these texts and films show that by never losing hope and staying determined, will help you to achieve your goals and overcome any adversity. The reader learns through these characters experiences what it is like to overcome a very difficult situation with determination and never losing hope. The reader also learns that each of these characters had something that motivated them to survive and get through their adversity. The reader learns that if you stay determined and don’t lose hope through the adversity that you have more of a chance to succeed. 

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Hayley, keep going 🙂 You have made some valuable judgments about what the viewer learns from these texts and I look forward to reading the final published essay.
    * One aspect to consider is that there can be multiple lessons that the viewer/reader learns about your core theme, from these examples. Your “lessons” do not have to be the same each time. Consider whether there are other aspects that caused these outcomes.


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