Question 1

In the storyline of Push by Sapphire, we get to learn of precious’ inner strength of determination and hope. The inner strength was typified by two examples in the story when she had to keep learning as well as face he challenges of her growing up. In terms of her learning progress, she was only sixteen years old, had not mastered the basic forms of vocabulary building, phonics, and enabled foundations of reading and writing. Her age did not warrant the circumstances, which she was in since her age mates were in categorical higher academic levels. In the growth and development of a child, the fundamentals of teachings at the formation stages facilitate an easier and enhanced learning ability (Reichard 42). As she was older, it was more difficult for her. Despite such a setback, majority of other individuals in a similar situation would have given up at the first instant. Instead, this did not deter her progress and will in life. The inner strength of determination and hope was exemplified by the meteoric rise in the ranks. An enhanced example of her efforts was rewarded by the mayor’s award of literacy in outstanding progress. She persisted and managed to achieve it with determination.    

            The second example, which typified Precious’ inner strength of determination and hope, was the struggles she faced as a teenage mother amid mistreatment from her father. At sixteen years of age, Precious had had a child and shortly after, conceived her second one. Some of the struggles she had faced were documented through her father’s mistreatment of her through raping ordeal. The act had happened twice for her conception of two children. In addition, as the plot developed, her father had died of HIV and AIDS, signifying that she too carried the same sexually transmitted infection (Sapphire and Bahni 22). Compounding her upbringing, the mother was abusive to her from her tender age. Even when her first-born child was staying with its mother, the welfare remunerations were taken from her. She had to leave home and fend for herself amidst all the struggles she faced with her two children. Despite the setbacks and negative outcomes, her inner strength facilitated her survival and increase in stature. It is stated that her confidence and change of attitude kept improving towards life as she sought help towards the traumatic experiences she had faced from birth. Burghstahler (2) supports that her inner strength managed to foster her resolve through her plans for a normal family, starting a relationship and seeking of better standards in life.

Question 2

The inner strength of determination and hope is also depicted in Indian Education by Sherman Alexie. In the story, Victor, the main character, faced several challenges in his education while growing up as a Native American. For example, Victor pointed out that due to his darker skin complexion, he faced discrimination from the teachers and student alike. At one point, when he had excelled in the spelling test, he was punished up by the teacher since the latter did not expect that from him due to his ethnical background. In addition, he was deemed as an alcoholic despite his age due to the native origin. In the institution that he attended his education, it was marked as one among the few native schools within the region as it was a ploy by the federal government to discriminate and rid of native populations. Unlike his peers in the basketball team, who were also of the same descent, Victor had determination in himself. He did not succumb to the pressures and discrimination forms like Jim who took his own life. While others like the white girls forced starvation on themselves, Victor enabled a different kind as he realized there was need for education, better life quality, and dignity (Grassian 62). His determination and hope made hi excel in all his endeavors.

            In Under the Influence by Russell Sanders, the depiction of inner strength of determination and hope is enabled through the personal accounts of his childhood. Sanders stated that his father was severely affected by alcoholism as they grew up with his siblings. In his family, the father’s character shifted from sobriety into one who was like a stranger, and fearful to his own children due to the effects of intoxication (Foster and Porter 33). His own brother became rebellious due to the ongoing matters in the house while everyone struggled to come to terms. The sister retreated to herself and became unsociable to everyone. The author too suffered from the constant pressure put on him by the father’s behavior, as he wanted to remain relevant. Sanders felt that he needed to be the dutiful child in the family and become the reference point of unity within it. Despite this pressure at an early age and demands of growing up, he had to face the alcoholism problem. His determination and hope would not allow him to despair at any given circumstance. Instead, he became a workaholic with an added fear of turning out as an alcoholic, much to the dismay of the family and himself.

Works Cited

Burghstahler, Sheryl. “Taking Charge: Stories of Success and Self-Determination.” DOIT Journals, 1.1 (2013): 1-3. Print.

Foster, Patricia, and Jeffrey L. Porter. Understanding the Essay. Peterborough, Ont: Broadview Press, 2012. Print.

Grassian, Daniel. Understanding Sherman Alexie. Columbia, S.C: University of South Carolina Press, 2005. Print.

Reichard, William. American Tensions: Literature of Identity and the Search for Social Justice: Stories, Poems, and Essays Addressing the Most Pressing Issues of Our Time. Oakland, CA: New Village Press, 2011. Print.

Sapphire and Bahni Turpin. Push: A Novel. New York: Cengage Learning, 2009. Print.

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