“When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose” (1215) A. We tremble at the sound of the word. We cry because of death’s finality. We realize death will come, yet we still push ourselves to survive. From observing the role survival plays in Black Boy, Ellen Foster, Self-Reliance, Walden, Billy Budd, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Grapes of Wrath, The Catcher in the Rye, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and Red Badge of Courage, we can understand what it takes to survive and the actual irony of survival. .
As our lives progress, we srd and how hard it is to survive. We must stand strong and pull through all the hardships we come across. Richard Wright’s Black Boy, makes us understand how hard surviving can be. “There was not a single boy in sight. That night I won the right to the streets of Memphis” (18). As Richard finally fights off the bullies by the grocery store, we can understand how fear can serve as a key to survival. By conquering fear, Richard survives on the streets of Memphis. By being forced to fight against not just the bullies, but our own fear we hold a greater chance teaches his audience fear motivates us to survive. Richard survives his childhood as Ellen does in Kaye Gibbons’ novel, Ellen Foster. “And all this time I thought I had the hardest row to hoe” (124). Ellen learns a valuable lesson, that even through abuse, neglect and ongoing displacement others have it harder. Ellen begins to realize that Starletta will never be able to overcome her suffering as easily as Ellen has overcome her own.
As a child evolves into an adolescent, usually they dont realize that mental survival is imperative to their lives. Emerson’s Self-Reliance explains how we cannot survive living lives derived around society. “Imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion” (1). Emerson teaches us that we cannot survive mentally if we mimic society’s actions.