1.8 Significant Connections

Overcoming hardships or challenges can change a person in many ways

Overcoming challenges and hardships are part of everyday life, but it is how we overcome them that defines who we are. Most people in life let those challenges affect them in a negative way, but people that don’t let their hardships get to them and come out stringer are the people that can make a difference. This is shown in the books Eragon, by Christopher Paolini and Lord of The Rings : Fellowship of the Ring and The Hobbit, both by J.R.R Tolkien and Touching the Void by Joe Simpson, The main characters of these books all have to overcome challenges on their journeys, they all react differently but all of them come out positively.

In “Eragon” a book by Christopher Paolini, the main character  Eragon begins the story as a humble farmer and ends it as a Dragon Rider, one of the most powerful beings in Alagaësia, where the book is set. At the beginning of the text, Eragon is living with his uncle and cousin but still stands out amongst his peers. He is the only one will to brave the mountains that have claimed so many lives referred to as “The Spine” It is in The Spine where he finds the dragon egg that turned his world upside down. Before he leaves to help join the fight he is only a hunter, wasting his true potential because he knows nothing else, his only worry is trying to feed his family. He has no knowledge of magic, of dragons, or of his destiny, only caring about simple things in his life “Eragon slowly crept closer, keeping the bow ready. All his work of the past three days had led to this moment.” This quote teaches the reader many things about Eragon, it teaches us that he was willing to give up a lot of time to achieve his goals, even if they are very difficult. We also learn of his ability as a hunter, and with a bow. Both of these traits are very useful to Eragon later in the book as the reader soon finds out. Eragon soon learns that the rock he finds only moments after the first quote is actually a dragon egg, and once that egg hatches he and the dragon inside are bound for life, meaning he cannot continue his normal life and has a very difficult decision to make. Although, the decision is made for him when his home is attacked and his uncle brutally murdered. This is the first of many hardships he is forced to endure because of his dragon and it will not be the last. This first challenge changes Eragon the most dramatically, it changes his personality, who he is. Before the incident Eragon is a kind soul, only harming others in order to save himself, but after there is a new part of him, a cold, dark part that seeks for vengeance and revenge. “I want my vengeance, but for the rest … I have no ambition. “The rest that is referred to is becoming a hero, an idol for many and someone that could overthrow the evil empire. Eragon’s mind becomes overtaken by his lust for revenge and the reader knows he will not stop until he has avenged his uncle. this might be because he never had a father so when the closest thing to one has been killed takes a bit of Eragon with it. This again tells the reader that Eragon is a determined person that will let nothing stand between him and his goal. Tragedy again strikes Eragon when his mentor is slain by the very people he is trying to track. This completes Eragon’s transformation, from a simple farm boy to a mighty warrior, capable of taking on the world. “From this moment on, I’ll live by the sword. Let the whole world see what I am. I have no fear. I am a Rider now, fully and completely.”  This final challenge teaches Eragon the most important lesson, he needs to learn to let go. And that is exactly what he does. He foregoes his quest to avenge his uncle and mentor and changes his path to find the Varden, the opposing force against the Empire. “My heart died a while back, said Eragon with a hint of black humour”  This quote shows us many things about the changes that have happened to Eragon, he is a bit more darker, more ruthless, but he also has retained his humanity. It also shows us that Eragon has resigned himself to the fact that his journey would suffer more heartbreak and death, but he has accepted it with an open eye and is still trying to make the best of it. Eragon changes a lot throughout the text, for the better for himself and for the good of everyone he has the potential to save.

In “The Hobbit” by J.R.R Tolkien, the character that the book revolves around a hobbit, called Bilbo Baggins, Bilbo is a very withdrawn person, that is of a prestigious hobbit family. None of his peers, or even himself,  expected him to do anything out of the ordinary. When a company of 12 dwarves and 1 wizard appear at his doorstep without warning he still has no doubt about the simple life. Although Bilbo does take up the challenge, he is still very unprepared, not really ready for his new lifestyle. When Bilbo joins the company he realises something, “I’m awfully sorry” said Bilbo “But I have come without my hat, and I have left my pocket-handkerchief behind, and I haven’t got any money” This quote shows us a lot about Bilbo’s personality, he is a very polite person, as most hobbits are, and this is something that always stays with him. It also tells us about how he was not very prepared, nor was he really sure about what he was about to do, this is something that changes the most about him, and this is beneficial to not only himself but to the people around him for his awareness saves them on many occasions. This new awareness and understanding shown and explored later on is the text when the company Bilbo is travelling with is captured by elves, and Bilbo is the only one to avoid capture due to the magic ring that he found that can make him invisible when he wears it. The Bilbo that started off the journey would have thought only for himself and would have tried to escape on his own, but would have failed due to his lack of skills. But Bilbo has gathered skills on his journey, an even still he decides to help rescue his friends  “No time now!” said the hobbit. “You just follow me! We must all keep together and not risk getting separated. All of us must escape or none, and this is our last chance.” Bilbo is much more aware of himself now, and he knows what he (And his ring) are capable of. The old Bilbo would never even dream of hatching up a plan to save his friends and such an outrageous one at that. But this is a changed Bilbo, one that actually has some idea of what he is doing. Although Bilbo has done some good things up until now he still has some room to grow, and he shows his worth at the end of the text. The company has arrived at their destination, and their leader Thorin has been driven mad by his desire and longing for the Arkenstone, The King’s Jewel, that Thorin believes to be his birthright. But Bilbo has already found it, and to prevent war he makes a decision that saves tens of thousands of lives. He gives the Arkenstone to the men so that they can trade it for what treasure they were promised. “This is the Arkenstone of Thrain,” said Bilbo, “the Heart of the Mountain; and it is also the heart of Thorin. He values it above a river of gold. I give it to you. It will aid you in your bargaining.” Then Bilbo, not without a shudder, not without a glance of longing, handed the marvellous stone to Bard. This decision shows Bilbo’s true worth, he is willing to give up his 1/14 share of the gold in order to stop a war. These decisions that he makes are very important and show he has changed, The Bilbo that started the journey would not have lasted a week, so Bilbo is forced to change, to adapt. And the Bilbo that returned is out of place amongst his peers, and he has experienced things they can only dream of. Bilbo’s change is very similar to that of Eragon’s, although Eragon starts off with much more skills and abilities than Bilbo they both develop into far more greater people than they could ever imagine. Bilbo’s choices affect more people directly, such as his company,  whereas Eragon’s choices are more beneficial to him, but still affect the lives of others later down the line.

In another book by J.R.R Tolkien, Lord of The Rings – The Fellowship of The Ring, the book focuses on Bilbos nephew, Frodo Baggins. Frodo is quite different to Bilbo, he is more curious, more open to exploring and adventuring. When Bilbo leaves, he leaves his magical ring to Frodo, unknowingly putting him in danger. This leaves Frodo with a choice, stay and watch his people be destroyed or travel to take the ring t the safety of the Rivendell elves. Frodo sets off with his friend Samwise Gamgee.But in the meanwhile, it seems that I am a danger, a danger to all that live near me. I cannot keep the Ring and stay here. I ought to leave Bag End, leave the Shire, leave everything and go away.” This decision shows that Frodo is very wise, wiser than most with much more experience than him. And it also tells us that he loves his people, and would do anything to see them survive. Frodo finds Aragorn, a person with the ability to get him to the elves and even further safely, Frodo is suspicious but accepts help. “Even if I wanted another companion, I should not agree to any such thing, until I knew a good deal more about you and your business.” This helps show us that Frodo has already changed a great deal, he has learnt to be wary, to question everything and everyone, even people that he would have trusted not too long ago. Frodo’s only goal was to get the elves at Rivendell, and he and his new friends succeed, But then a new challenge presents itself. Someone has to continue the journey, to take the ring to Mordor and destroy it in the fires of Mount Doom. There is a meeting, on who will take the ring. The Men, Dwarves and Elves will not let one of the others take it, so for the quest to take place, it has to be someone else. The Frodo that left the shire would have stepped aside and left them to come to an agreement. But Frodo has learnt, and has taken on a newfound confidence and leadership, and volunteers himself. “I will take the Ring,’ he said, ‘though I do not know the way.” This shows us how much Frodo has changed. It has completed him, he knows now that he is the only one that can do it. But it also tells us something else. It tells us that Frodo is willing to ask for help, to admit when he is wrong and then try to find a solution. This aspect that appears in Frodo is very similar to that that is shown in Eragon, both of them are willing to learn and this desire to learn is not only beneficial to them but also for the greater good. Bilbo and Frodo also have a very similar, they begin their respective books as people that are the exact opposite people that you would imagine to start of an adventure, and certain events that happen change them and they are slowly manipulated into being the perfect pawns of the adventure, being carried around but having the strength to do what the need to do.

In Joe Simpsons Touching the Void, Joe and his friend Simon are attempting to scale Suila Grande, when Joe slips and breaks his leg, leaving them stranded on the mountain, desperate for survival. Joes change is something slightly different from the rest, his survival instinct kicks in where most people would just give up. When he falls and breaks his leg he stays rational, thinking logically. “I fell, the ledge gave way” “I’ve broken my leg” This shows us Joes experiences showing through. He knows about mountaineering and he knows the best way to react, and the way that most likely will help him to survive. Joe does not change in the way that is developing into the life of an adventure, because the challenges that he is forced to overcome are different. If anything Joe is forced to become less logical and has learnt to listen to his heart rather than his head and this is the only reason he survives. “The voice told me exactly how to go about it” The voice being the part of him that still has a desire to live, and to keep on going. This shows us that even when he has all but given up he will still stay strong and keep on going, and even when he wants to stop and give up he cannot because of the voice inside his head guides him. But it also tells us that Joe is desperate enough to have discovered a new part of himself that until now was not necessary, even if it leads him down the wrong path he will follow it because it is his last hope of survival. “The voice told me that I was too late, that time had run out.” This again shows us how easily Joe is being controlled by the voice, and that he is blindly following it. This is a significant change for him, at the beginning of the story, before him and Simon set off on the climb and he breaks his leg. He would not have followed anyone the, with the exception of his closest friends. And now he is blindly following a voice inside his head that is only now showing itself. I could be trying to manipulate him, he has learnt that he can’t question things even if there is a slight chance of survival he must follow it. As I already mentioned Joe changes is almost the opposite of the others, while they all end up as adventuring people he is already like this during his life. But he is forced to lose the logical thinking that Eragon, Bilbo and Frodo of them learn in order to survive.

All the people that I mention in this essay change in many ways, different people react to challenges and obstacles that are put in front of them in order to survive. From Bilbo, who learnt how to stand up for what is right even if it puts him at risk to Joe, who is forced to discover a part of himself that he never knew existed. Everybody has to overcome challenges but it is those that learn to adapt to overcome them that can make a difference in life.

One Reply to “1.8 Significant Connections”

  1. Ben, your key theme that you are focusing on in this essay is strong but you do need to revisit this theme in every text discussion; this helps to focus your argument. Make sure that you connect your final “lessons” back to your theme.
    * It may be useful to separate your text examples into individual paragraphs. This way you could relate individual sections back to your theme.

    Lastly, be specific in your connections across texts. Make sure you give specific details about people, places, events….etc. in this final discussion.

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