The purpose of this Endurance paper was to use our character’s experience in order to create a dialogue between us. I used the plot of the book and our reactions to craft a story. I chose to connect to my characters hardships because I feel that the worse parts of our lives are the parts that define us most. We either can chose to be overtaken by them or grab a hold and grow from them. I am proud of the way I was able to weave our lives together. I learned that others experiences can help us grow just as much as our own.
Mark hears the incessant buzz of his alarm clock as he wakes up. for school After he gets ready for school, he heads to the redline. As he heads down the dirt-ridden staircase. he sees the same homeless man. He stands on the platform and preaches whatever is on his mind. As Mark is walking by, the homeless man grabs him and says, “The spiritual path is not a solo endeavor. In fact, the very notion of a self who is trying to free her/himself is a delusion. We are in it together and the company of spiritual friends helps us realize our interconnectedness.” Mark shakes free of the man’s grip and quickly heads onto the train.
Mark finds a seat immediately but is still breathing frantically while trying to collect his thoughts. The teenager sitting next to him asks,
“Are you ok?”
“yes” and explains to him what just happened before he got on the train.
“What’s your name?” asked Mark.
“Ishmael Beah” replied the teenager.
Ishmael continued to explain to Mark how he recently moved from Sierra Leone and was looking for someone to show him around Chicago. Mark, seeing an opportunity to miss school, jumps at the opportunity to show Ishmael the city.
“Don’t you have school?”. Mark’s radiant smile immediately turns into gloomy frown. He says,
“School sucks! I’m almost done, anyways! I’ve already gotten into college” Ishmael shakes his head, stares at Mark with such intensity that he feels Ishmael is speaking to his soul, and he says,
“my father used to say, ‘If you are alive, there is hope for a better day and something good to happen. If there is nothing good left in the destiny of a person, he or she will die.” Mark stared back at Ishmael and felt such spiritual connection that it combined their two souls and made them feel as if they had switched bodies. They both sat in the middle of the sidewalk. just staring in silence. Neither of them were speaking yet, they were having the deepest conversation either ever had. For them, they were no longer in the middle of Chicago. but rather a place where both their consciousnesses could combine. Each of them could see each other’s experiences and understand each other. They can only stand and speak.
They continue staring and Mark points out his favorite place in Chicago.
“See that? That right there is Wrigley Field, that’s one of the most magical places in Chicago. No matter how terrible life is, when you are at wrigley: everything is alright. You will never find an unhappy kid there. It’s a safe haven.”
“What makes it so special?”
“You can escape reality. Those were the only times my family was happy.”
“How could you not be happy? You have so much here.”
“There is monetary support and emotional support. Just cause you have one, doesn’t mean you have the other.”
“ Children have the resilience to outlive their sufferings, if given a chance. This means you must be strong. You do not need wrigley field to escape your problems because you are capable of handling them on your own.”
“That is true but life is not all about hard work and resilience. Sometimes you need to escape and be vulnerable. If you are resilient and tough all the time then you will miss a lot of life. Did you have any escapes?”
“I had a very difficult childhood. It was full of death, despair, and hardships so the only escape I had was my own. I couldn’t focus on anything but my escape. Do you have any idea what that’s like?”
“Wow no I don’t but I do know what it’s like to be scared, alone, and intent on escape. I went to a school where I was bullied, beaten, and stolen from. When I started at this school, I had the idealistic view of an naive 15 year old and I left with the cynicisms 65 year old.”
“How many more times do we have to come to terms with death before we find safety? How much longer must people like us be scared from our experiences?”
“What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Don’t let them frighten you, let them empower you. If you live in fear then your enemies have won.”
Mark then realizes how much Ishmael has taught him. He realizes that it’s important to go to school and work hard. He learned it’s important to value what you have. Most importantly, he learned remain hopeful in his lowest moments. Mark was not paying attention and now realizes that Ishamel is gone. He begins to panic his heart starts to race and….
Mark hears the incessant buzz of his alarm clock as he wakes up for school.