Similar Difficulties in "Angela’s Ashes" by Frank McCourt and "The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls

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The quests for gold at the end of the rainbow, the hopes of thousands to one day live the fabled American Dream. Worldwide, everyone who is capable looks for their chance to strike it rich. Some of the most successful people today, such as Apple’s Steve Jobs and OK! Magazine’s Richard Desmond, have risen from tough backgrounds (Serafina). Growing up in abject poverty, these individuals found ways to push past the glass ceiling in their respective fields. Interestingly, many of them share similar obstacles on their way to the top.

After reading Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt and The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, I observed that both these texts share a few similarities in the way the authors portray the difficulties their characters have to face, in order to get to where they are now. After researching a few rags to riches stories and using Slumdog Millionaire and The Pursuit of Happyness as my primary sources, I found out that successful individuals from harsh backgrounds shared similar complications, yet they had the will and perseverance to get to where they are now. They faced difficulties such as dealing with poverty and hardships of everyday life, struggling to overcome the effects of addiction and abuse. They found ways to overcome these difficulties through things like having some form of education, and utilizing their knowledge, to manipulate opportunities to their advantage in order to bring about success.

The first barrier to a better life had to do with surviving poverty or the absence of certain privileges. In Angela’s Ashes, Frank, the protagonist of the book, along with his family had to endure persistent rains, exposure to disease and starvation. Frank and Malachy Jr. had to resort to stealing food several ...

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... rupees, in effect turning his economical condition upside down. In The Pursuit of Happyness, Chris Gardner’s enrollment into the brokerage training program and internship boost him to a full time job at the company. The job lets Gardner settle down and provides a stable base to start his own brokerage and his inevitable ascension to economic success.

This goes to show that with guts and determination, those who are desperate enough to bring about a change, are the ones who are able to utilize what they have to get what they desire. Poverty, addiction and abuse are major obstacles that individuals from rough background face on their way to success. Moreover, it is their education and their ability to utilize their talents, as well as having the audacity to chase their ambitions incessantly, that helps them utilize and exploit the opportunities that open up for them.

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