The Survival Instinct in A Long Way Gone and Blood Brothers

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Since the beginning of time, every species has been faced with their greatest trial in life: survival. Humans as a species have become masters of defying death. Even faced with overpopulation, itself the result of successfully defying death and sure catalyst to the downfall of a population, we as a species have nevertheless learned to cope and continue to reproduce and thrive. As individuals, each human being possesses one of the greatest wills for survival in our natural world. Our societal views of the value of life and the fear of death, our intellectual dominance, and our physical adaptability allow us to cling to life under the harshest conditions. Though survival of the individual is a vital part of every species’ continuance, human society, particularly western culture, has made a point of idolizing the idea of survival throughout religion and modern day culture. From the beginning, the first man had to fight not only for his own survival, but also for the future of human kind. A main goal of many religions was procreation to increase population size, a goal we have certainly achieved. In today’s western society, we propagate ideas like, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” “this too shall pass,” and “it will get worse before it gets better.” In the book A Long Way Gone, the father of the author, Ishmael Beah, tells his son, “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,” showing that people from various cultures hold the same value of hope. These messages tell us to hold on because things might get better, even when they look grim. As negative and pessimistic as a person may seem, a smal... ... middle of paper ... ...ingdom. Our physical adaptability, mental compensation, and ingrained optimism are all represented in the human belief that, “We must live in the radiance of tomorrow, as our ancestors have suggested in their tales. For what is yet to come tomorrow has possibilities, and we must think of it, the simplest glimpse of that possibility of goodness. That will be our strength. That has always been our strength.” (Ishmael Beah, “Radiance”) This common human strength has allowed our species not only to survive but also to thrive for years past, and presumably for years to come. Works Cited Beah, Ishmael. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier (in italics). New York: Sarah Crichton Books, 2007. print. James, S.. N.p.. Web. 23 Feb 2014. . MICHAELSON, INGRID. Blood Brothers. Motown. 2012. Digital

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