Perseverance Is Important: Argumentative Essay

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Imagine if you or someone you love had a disability, and because of this they were denied entry to school, university, or even to gain employment. This was the case in Australia before the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act of 1992. Finally, those with disabilities gained a voice. They were given the right to equal opportunity in society.

This is where the role of texts, and in particular, theatre come into play - they must not only entertain the audience but to go that one step further and educate them. Think of the fables and rhymes your parents read to you, as a child. The tortoise and the hare, the boy who cried wolf, the lion and the rabbit. These are all exciting stories but that’s not why your parents read them to you. They read them to you because they have important morals. The tortoise and the hare teaches us not to brag and not to give up and the lion and the rabbit teaches us that sometimes being smart can be more important than being physically powerful. Each of these fables has a unique and important message to tell. Theatre companies have the same motive when they put on plays. To make us think, to make us feel, and to educate and teach us about the world we live in.

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Texts allow the audience to gain insight into how individuals with disabilities need to show perseverance to overcome the obstacles they are faced with. These notions are seen in the 1950s play The Miracle Worker.

Disability should not be what defines an individual. In The Miracle Worker, Helen goes through the journey of not only finding out who she is but more importantly, what she can become. Everyone in her life defines her based on her disabilities of deafness and blindness. In The Miracle Worker, Helen’s family treats her with pity and has no limits for what they let her get away with. Through Helen, the text explores the problem of pitying people with disabilities. It portrays how pity deprives them of dignity and respect. A common stereotype for people with disabilities such as Helen’s is that they are incapable of living a normal life. This is revealed as the protagonist Annie says “Mrs Keller, I don’t think Helen’s worst handicap is deafness or blindness. I think it is your love. And pity.” This perpetuates the stereotype; of defining individuals by their disability. It highlights that tough love can be a better option to help people overcome the obstacles life has thrown at them rather than the more common approach of being pitiful. When everyone assumes that a person can't learn or change because of their disability, that person will never believe differently themselves and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. This idea of treating people with disabilities equally is timeless and still extremely pertinent to contemporary Australia. We are still trying to understand disabilities and how best to support those who live with them. The text offers insight and gives voice to people with disabilities, making it an important text, with an equally important message.

Another common moral in stories is that of perseverance. Perseverance is key to success, especially when the end goal may seem impossible. Annie Sullivan repeatedly shows perseverance in The Miracle Worker. Despite Helen’s tantrums and constant crying Annie refuses to give in to her demands. Helen's parents are hesitant to let Annie have time alone to work with Helen. Annie does not capitulate and insists that discipline is the only way to help Helen. Finally, her parents concur and after countless attempts, Annie finally teaches Helen to eat with a spoon and fold her napkin. This persistence is key for Annie to finally achieve her goal; teaching Helen basic manners and effective communication. This is shown in the scene “Annie takes over the handle to keep water coming, and does automatically what she has done so many times before, spells into Helen’s free hand”. This highlights the importance of Annie’s perseverance in the text. Annie’s persistence in teaching Helen to communicate is signified as this suggests that Annie has repeated this action many times over her journey with Helen. The Miracle Worker is a moving text which reminds us that persistence goes a long way. Perseverance is a timeless moral and will remain relevant no matter if it is 1950 in Alabama or 21st-century Australia. Annie’s perseverance is another example of how texts can be used by theatre companies to educate audiences.

Many older texts like The Miracle Worker allow audiences to gain important insights into how equality can help people with disabilities and how perseverance can be a key mechanism for success. The outdated stereotypes many of these texts perpetuate make us more aware of these issues.

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Perseverance Is Important: Argumentative Essay. (2024, February 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from
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