Challenge Essay

630 WordsAug 23, 20123 Pages
CHALLENGE Challenges, whether emotional, physical or intellectual affect everyone in different ways and is part of everyday life. Challenges can present us with opportunities to learn about ourselves and others and to help us grow as a person. The idea of challenge is explored in Stephen Herrick’s novel “By the River” through the experiences of Harry and Johnny Barlow in country NSW in the early 1960s. Both Johnny and Harry experience challenges in many different ways. The protagonist of the novel, Harry shows how challenges help us learn and grow. In the text, Harry is portrayed as a poor boy who is socially rejected by his classmates. This is shown by Harry being teased at his home because it was covered in oil. “Just look for the house smeared in oil! You’ll see it!” Harry however overcomes his problems by setting a blind eye to it. His concept was to believe that it didn’t matter if someone thought you were poor. All that was needed was to think of the positives in life. Through his reaction it is clear that someone can learn and grow through challenges. Another way in which Harry shows how people can learn and grow through their challenges is when he is forced to face the stress of having an injured member of the family. This is shown by Harry cutting the watermelon after his father’s finger is amputated at work. Because of this circumstance Harry is forced to take over the jobs. Harry then learns that he can be trusted to do what he thought he couldn’t. The cutting of the watermelon symbolises, though the use of a metaphor, the trust that Harry’s father has in Harry. This is yet another way to prove that challenges can give us and others, opportunities to learn and grow as a person. Harry also grows and learns from his challenges, most importantly, in one major challenge. Harry’s only friends Linda is swept away in the flood. This flood depicts

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