An Analysis Of Adversity In Divisadero

Adversity is an obstacle that every individual faces at any given point in their lifetime. Many people are given an opportunity when confronted with difficult circumstances. In the fictional excerpt Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje, a young woman named Mary-Neige confronts many life hardships shortly after her husband leaves for prison. Without her husband by her side to support her, the author reveals her true character when she must overcome these hardships herself. When an individual is faced with adversity in their lives, it is their decision whether or not to overcome it. The outcome of their decision molds the way they react to future adversities, and only then can an individual’s identity be shaped.

The aftermath of adversity is dependent on how each individual handles a given situation. When a situation is severe enough, people aren’t given a choice regarding how they can react when placed in a difficult position. As a child, life should be simple; filled with love and laughter. During my childhood, this would have been a dream – paradise. My childhood was one that no child should ever have to experience. My father, who should have been a support system, was the polar opposite. Instead of being the ideal father, he was a man filled with self-directed anger. Every night, he would come home from a long day at work disappointed with his children. Of his three daughters, I was the biggest disappointment. I wasn’t the prettiest nor the most sociable. I was quiet and kept to myself. Because I did not embody his ideal child, he physically, verbally, and emotionally abused me. Unable to tell others about my situation, I was alone and left to struggle with his abuse. I was hit every night and blamed for provoking his violence. The only way I could keep the abuse a secret was by attributing my injuries to sports. I was scared, unsure of what else I could do for fear that he would escalate the abuse. It took me years to realize that he was a man tormented by his self-imposed adversities. Instead of confronting and overcoming them, he chose to avoid them, turning into a man who thrived on controlling others.

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He was so overwhelmed by the difficulties he brought upon himself that he felt the need to project his struggles onto his own flesh and blood. Once my parents finally split up six years ago, I felt free. The divorce between my parents gave me the opportunity to become a better person. I had the chance to stare my adversity in the face and stand up for myself. It felt good to say something. By standing up to my father, I began to reveal who I truly am. I was not the things my father made me believe, far from it. Two years after my parents’ divorce, I built up the confidence to tell my mother about what I had endured. Social services got involved, but it was a significant step towards my self-recovery. Ever since I told my mother, I have been striving to improve myself. I still have a hard time trusting men since I didn’t have a dependable father figure in my life. Choosing to confront my adversity has led me to be more optimistic about what I can handle. If I hadn’t chosen to stand against my father, I could have ended up just like him. Going through this adversity and choosing to overcome it has shaped the person I am today.

Diverse situations shape an individual’s identity and play a role in how a person perceives themselves. The excerpt from Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje, reveals Mary-Neige’s development when she accepts the responsibilities of the farm and grows as an individual. With her husband Roman in prison and the farm duties thrust upon her, she must take control of the farm out of necessity. During the 1800s, women were not typically educated and Mary-Neige was no exception. However, she was resourceful with the knowledge she did have, supplementing it with books given to her by a neighbour. The farm setting emphasizes her ingenuity as she prepares the land for planting, raking the earth with manure and fending off pests with her own methods. By devoting this level of dedication and labour to the farm, the aspiration to “grow a perfect black tulip” symbolizes Mary-Neige’s struggle with her husband’s abandonment and the burdens placed on her, and her efforts to overcome them. She experiences a newfound sense of independence she didn’t possess when Roman was present.

To make matters worse, she had a miscarriage. However, in revealing her true self, she did not let this event shape the person she is today. While reminiscing about the dark period while her husband was in prison, happier memories follow of taking on farm responsibilities. This experience resulted in her gaining independence from her husband and freeing herself from uncertainty. Responding to her identity being shaped by adversity, she looks beyond the tragedies she was put through and educates herself to become self-sufficient. Although she continues to visit him in prison, she is not dependent on him for livelihood. Lucien, her neighbor, remarks that she was now entering the “world of the grower of the black tulip,” symbolizing her thriving and succeeding. Mary-Neige’s identity becomes interwoven with the land and the process of overcoming her ordeal. Overcoming adversity takes time. The way we handle the setbacks we face shapes who we are. Simply put, everyone is different and handles adversity differently; this creates variations among people that have evolved over time. As for Mary-Neige and myself, we both chose to make our ordeals part of our pasts and to give ourselves the chance to grow from them.

Mary-Neige took her husband’s departure to prison as a positive situation in order to “grow the perfect black tulip” that she wanted to be. It gave her the opportunity to become a strong, independent, and self-sufficient woman. Adjusting my perspective on my adversities gave me newfound independence and the ability to choose how I interact with different people in my life. Each individual is a driver on life’s broken road. We heed the signs and follow where they guide us along the path of nourishment, leading us to our final destination.

My Boyfriend Nick’s Fight With Adversity

My boyfriend, Nick, has been fighting adversity his whole life. He has always taken pride in being about family and being a good friend. While growing up, he was told he wasn’t academic and had no future. Nick has always wanted to prove wrong the people who told him that he would fail in life. Since high school, he’s been doing just that. Through everything he faced, he has always been known for his smile and humor. Nick has had to adjust his life to deal with many problems, including family problems, learning disabilities, and losing his ability to play sports. Nick started his life growing up with a single mother and his older sister in an apartment. His mom was a bartender at the time, and he had no contact with his biological father.

He had to go with his mom and sister to a lawyer when his biological father disowned them and wouldn’t pay child support. When his mother got married, Nick and his sister were legally adopted by the man whom he now calls his dad. For most of his childhood, Nick saw his older sister get presents and phone calls from their biological father while he wasn’t even recognized by him. Nick grew to hate his real father and embrace his new family, which consisted of four siblings and caring parents. Family life was going well for Nick until the eighth grade. One night, after his basketball practice, Nick went home. There his mom told him his biological father was hospitalized due to a heart attack caused by drugs and alcohol, and didn’t have much time to live. When Nick asked his grandparents if he could go see his biological father, they told him that he had no interest in meeting his son but wanted to see his daughter. Doctors told Nick’s parents that he would have an addictive personality and that it was more than likely that he could become an alcoholic or a drug abuser. Nick was crushed by the passing of his biological father; consequently, he gave up on religion and stopped going to church. At that time, the only things that could make Nick happy were the sports he played. He grew closer to his grandpa and would stay in Pennsylvania with him for weeks at a time during the summer. Nick learned how to look at life positively and find happiness in every situation.

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When Nick was a senior in high school, life was going great. He had a fast car and a job that he loved. His grandpa was proud of him because he was the first boy in the family to get accepted into college. But the day before Nick graduated, his grandfather passed away suddenly, without any health concerns. They were supposed to go on a hunting and fishing trip in Montana as a graduation present. Nick got a tattoo for his grandpa of mountains and a lake, just like the place they intended to visit. Nick found happiness in doing something he knew would make his grandpa smile. He learned to believe that the only thing that really matters in life is family and the people closest to you. Now, Nick lives his life focusing on the positives of every situation.

When Nick was in elementary school, he faced many problems that caused him to struggle with learning. He had a speech impediment, which made him unable to talk without having to repeat himself multiple times until someone understood him. Therefore, he was put into speech classes from first grade through fifth grade. He never tested out of the class, but he told his parents he refused to take it in middle school, so he stopped. However, the speech impediment was the least of his problems. Nick was reading at a third-grade level when he was in fifth grade. His teachers gave his parents the option of holding him back or having him tested for ADHD and dyslexia. Nick underwent the tests and discovered he had dyslexia, but not ADHD. He was told by multiple teachers and his parents that they just expected him to get his high school degree, and that’s it. He then went to a tutor, and went through the “Overcoming Dyslexia” program. By the time he was a sophomore in high school, he was being recommended for honors English classes. Nick overcame everyone telling him he wasn’t going to pass in school and is now a freshman at Wright State University.

Before Nick knew he would go to college, he was set on becoming a professional athlete. Nick was a three-sport athlete, playing football, basketball, and lacrosse. He had a serious knee injury in middle school which couldn’t be operated on until he finished growing. Going into high school, Nick was invited to a camp where kids went to learn from professional lacrosse players, and played against some of the best kids in the country. Nick got rated a nine out of ten by the two best players in college lacrosse, based on his skill. After this camp, he was set on playing college and professional lacrosse. Sadly, Nick ended up hurting his knee again. Before his football season, he had a minor surgery. Despite this, he ended up being able to start on the freshman football team and dress for varsity as a freshman. However, after his basketball and lacrosse season that year, he had to have another, more serious surgery. Nick missed almost two years of sports before being able to run again. Nick was disappointed in himself when he had to quit all sports because of abnormal swelling in his knee after every practice and game. However, Nick looked at his situation positively, and taught his younger brothers how to play all three sports and techniques. One is now playing up a grade in lacrosse, and the other is on the fifth-ranked AAU basketball team in the country. Nick attends some of their games and is content watching them as they succeed in the sports.

Currently, Nick is the happiest he has ever been and he looks at life positively. Nick overcame family problems, learning disabilities, and lost his ability to play sports by maintaining a positive outlook on life and making the best of all situations. He is close to both of his parents and all his siblings now. He sees the man who adopted him as his real dad, and they share a love for cars and constantly upgrade their cars. According to Nick, family is the most important thing in the world, and now, he is the happiest and most positive member of his family. Nick is doing well in school, but is thinking about joining the Navy after this year. He finds happiness in watching his brothers play the three sports he loved, and they wear his old numbers. Nick went from being a sad, moody kid with almost no future, to a person with a bright future and aspirations to do something great, by just believing in himself and looking at life positively.

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