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"Fugitive Pieces" By Anne Michaels, "The Power Of One" By Bryce Courtenay And "Empire Of The Sun" By J.G. Ballard

1644 words - 7 pages

The power to overcome life threatening experiences helps a person to grow within. In the books Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels, Empire of the Sun by J. G. Ballard, and The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay, the main characters--Jakob, Peekay and Jim respectively--were all able to overcome adversity at a young age. This was developed through their relationships with a father-like mentor, their ability to build courage from fear and their informal education. With these elements they were able to survive through harsh conditions to develop as individuals.The main characters were able to overcome adverse situations in life through the presence of a father-like mentor. All three main characters were separated from their fathers at a very young age. Having a father figure to look up to is essential as it provides the youth with a sense of support, security and a feeling that they are not alone in the world. In Fugitive Pieces Jakob is rescued by Athos during the Holocaust. Athos cares for Jakob and takes Jakob in as if he was his own son. "If you hurt yourself Jakob, I will have to hurt myself" (Michaels 45). Jakob was able to rely on Athos as he grew up. He was able to feel "not that [he] owed Athos everything but that [he] loved him" (Michaels 60). Jakob was able to feel safe in his surroundings as a result of the tenderness Athos showed him.Similarly, in Empire of the Sun, Jim was separated from his parents during the Japanese occupation of China in WWII. He met two people who supported him and helped him to grow. Basie rescued Jim from the streets and took care of him throughout their imprisonment. Jim emulated Basie and wanted nothing more than to gain his approval. "Jim noticed how different Basie was from his father in this respect. For the first time in his life Jim felt free" (Ballard 90). Through Jim's attempts to gain Basie's approval, he was able to develop confidence and improved his ability to survive. He also developed in his friendship with Dr. Ransome. The Doctor was very kind to Jim and made many sacrifices for his benefit. "Dr. Ransome gave too much of his own food to Jim" (Ballard 153). He showed compassion by giving some of what little he had to help Jim.Finally, in The Power of One, Peekay is sent to boarding school away from his family. His experiences take place during the Apartheid in South Africa as he deals with prejudice and strong racism. He meets people on his journeys that greatly impact his life. Their love helps him to overcome the emotional damage he sustains at a young age. Peekay befriends Hoppie, a train guard, who is the first person to instill confidence in him. "You're going to be the next champ Peekay...I think you're going to be [great]" (Courtenay 76). Peekay learns from Hoppie that he is special and this impacts Peekay throughout his entire life. Peekay later meets Doc who becomes the most important person in his life and they stay very close until Doc's death. During his imprisonment Doc had to try very hard...

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