Imagine sitting around a poker table, awaiting anxiously for the dealer to deal out the next cards, knowing that if you receive a good hand you will win. To your dismay, you stare in shock at the “bad” hand you received. However, it’s not necessarily the hand that is bad, but how you play the hand that can determine your fate. The same goes for life. In life, you will always be dealt good hands and bad hands, and sometimes, there is even a brick wall attached to these cards that symbolize the problems and struggles that accompany these cards. Even if you have a bad hand, if you play your cards the right way, the bad hand can transform into winning, successful hand. In The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, one of the life lessons he advocates is, “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand” (17). Moreover, there will always be a brick wall, or challenges, in the cards we were dealt, and according to Pausch, we possess the power to rip down the wall and to deal with how we react to the cards we are dealt.
Randy Pausch, the narrator of The Last Lecture, shares his insight about living during his last months of fighting pancreatic cancer. Pausch is a middle aged man who balances his family, his loving wife and three young children, and also his career as a professor and mentor at Carnegie Mellon. A few months after receiving the news of his terminal cancer, Pausch was asked to participate in a project called The Last Lecture, where professors share their knowledge and experiences to the students at Carnegie Mellon. This opportunity would be Pausch’s last chance to impart his wisdom to his students, colleagues, friends and most importantly, his family. In his lecture, Pausch did not want to talk about dying, but living “Many people might expect me to talk about dying. But it had to be about living” (9).
Throughout his lecture, Pausch reiterated how important it was to have dreams and to follow them despite the hardships that arise. He compared these hardships to a brick wall and expanded this concept by explaining that “Brick walls are there for a reason. They’re not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something” (51-52). Brick walls popped up all over Pausch’s life especially when he received the bad card of pancreatic cancer. Pausch made the best of his situation by reacting in a manner of extending his life so he can be there longer for his family, while also preparing them for a life without him. Pausch departs his lecture by repeating the importance of you possessing the power to react to the challenges that arise from your bad cards and everyday experiences.
The Poem “I Will Rise” by Sagar Yadav, describes the refusal of giving up despite temptations from adversity. This poem is similar to Pausch’s perspective on life when describing the overcoming of the bad set of cards and breaking through the metaphorical brick wall. This is shown through the repetition of the...