Determined to Learn
Madison Richards, Division 2, 12th grade #ws18e-s1d2

As a fan of a variety of entertainment mediums, including television, movies and books, the number of characters portrayed, both real life and fictional, may literally be endless and provide an opportunity for the consumer to immerse themselves into the lives of those most compelling. Whether it is the strong willed Rosie in the African Queen or the fearfully courageous castaway Robinson Crusoe or the delightfully witty amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher; the abundance of personality permits anyone to slip in and out their own space and into that of the character. With so many undeniably favorite individuals in television, movies, and books to choose from, there is one that I imagine could be plucked from the pages and replaced with me, Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games trilogy.

Katniss, a strong willed young woman faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles, overcomes the harshest realities of her world. The traits: defiant, resolute, compassionate, self-reliant, intelligent are only a few that could describe the character that is Katniss Everdeen. Yet, it is all of these that make her so admirable. In a land lead by narcissistic personalities, her austere circumstances place her on path to live or die. With no other option she must deal with everything in her way to overcome her own pain and suffering and the pain and suffering of those around her. Certainly my own life is nowhere as severe as the one Katniss faces, but it is the strength that she finds from within to succeed that I admire so much. Faced with life and death from both physical and mental tortures against herself and everyone she ever cared about, she becomes a leader for her people through shear tenacity and by earning respect. All of this at the same time she learns so much about herself.

What I also like about this character is that she quickly recognizes that she cannot do it alone. I believe that anyone, real or fictional, survives and succeeds with the support of people around you. Originally believing that no one will help her and that everyone around her is relieved they are not put to the tasks she is, Katniss overcomes her own doubt when she finds a true ally, one whom she secretly held a fondness to before being chosen for the Hunger Games. Combined with her own tenacious will to survive and the ability to believe in a true friend, the character becomes one of the strongest personalities who is not afraid to face her own flaws and succeed. Just as significant, she is able to recognize outwardly that her flaws exist.

As I relate her personality to my own, I recognize that accomplishment and greatness come from within and is supported by trustworthy people whom you surround yourself with. You cannot do it alone but you must have the desire to succeed. Life is about a constant desire to learn. Often learning that comes with a struggle. Katniss Everdeen lived in a world where no one made it out of horrific surroundings unless they literally were chosen to fight to the death and live through it. This was the ultimate price to pay. For me, the personality of this character shows that through any situation and adversity having a strong desire to learn about oneself and mature from it can make a difference in the lives of so many.

Certainly the trilogy explored extreme examples of struggle and hopefully no one will face those in real life. These struggles prove that “never say never” really does mean something. It is a simple inspirational sentiment that rings true for me. As I look ahead to the next stage of my life, both academically and in my personal life, I believe the strong willed young woman Katniss Everdeen will continue to inspire me to constantly remember where I came from, strive to be the best I can be in the present and to reach for the stars as I move forward in life. Most importantly, I have an expectation of myself that I will learn from experience all along the way.
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