Autobiography Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton Essay Sample

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In the autobiography Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton three key ideas I found interesting were resilience, hope and courage. Soul Surfer is an inspiring true story about a 13 year old girl getting her arm bitten off by a shark. Bethany, from the age of two had a passion for surfing, when this event occurred the possibility of being able to chase her dream of being a professional surfer became “blurred”. The key ideas of resilience, hope and courage are portrayed throughout this text most significantly after this accident had occurred.

An idea in the text that I find interesting is resilience. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from challenging situations. Bethany Hamilton losing her arm caused this quality to be tested. Bethany demonstrates resilience especially when she had entered her first surfing competition after the attack. With the loss of one arm, this task was always going to be challenging. While Bethany is in “the impact zone” she gets knocked down from the force of the waves. Like in real life, the decision to “get back up” is a demonstration of resilience. To surfers the “impact zone” is when the surfer receives the worst beating after” wiping out” or “paddling out”. This is where the waves break most consistently and ferociously.

In life, the “impact zone” is where you are forced to bounce back after going through a rough period in life or a difficult situation. Bethany inspires resilience in others when she visits a 7 year old boy in 2009. This boy lost his arm in a car accident and believed he could never play baseball again. Bethany motivating this boy to not give up shows us her demonstration of resilience is an example to follow by others. I find this idea interesting because it is very relevant to every day life. Resilience is a quality required in many situations. Possessing it is a gift because it triggers your dormant abilities such as hidden strengths, beliefs and confidence. We all have learnt one way or another that “life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we just get stronger and more resilient.” This text encourages this quality to be practiced through all tough situations.

Another idea that I find interesting in the autobiography Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton is courage. Courage is overcoming fear and doing what scares you. Often we never know when we are being courageous, this text shows Bethany’s journey to becoming courageous. Courage is shown most significantly in the text when Bethany chose to travel to Thailand to assist in the clean up process of the Tsunami. Bethany, when she arrived, stood on the edge of the beach watching the sea wondering why “everyone was so terrified of the water.” She watched a group of children sitting on the sand without anyone to look after them. Bethany realises all of those children are orphans as a result of the Tsunami. Sarah, the guidance councillor of the trip to Thailand, walks over to Bethany while she is feeling upset that these children have no family. Sarah inspires Bethany to receive a different “perspective” and to realise “compassion can drive us to receive alternative perspectives”. From this advice, Bethany starts to feel blessed that she has survived and still has family. Bethany then inspires all the children to go and have a swim to face their fears.

Other citizens in Thailand watched and clapped to support Bethany giving these children the courage to face their fears. I found this idea interesting because it takes a lot of courage to put your own situation on hold to realise others are in worse situations than yourself. Bethany doing this proved to me that she was “showing courage by doing something out of the ordinary to improve her life.” This idea is relevant to society because unless people have courage to face their fears and to get back up after failing, we wouldn’t have the resources we are supplied with today. 12,000 people were saved in Thailand because of the volunteers, such as Bethany, who helped feed starving people and rebuild homes. These volunteers showed courage that had driven back their fears, and it has allowed them to truly live life the way it is meant to be lived. Soul Surfer is a text that motivates people of all ages to try new things even if it scares them; it shows us that courage can lead to overcoming difficult situations which everyone encounters at some point in their lives.

Another idea I found interesting in the text Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton is hope. Hope is knowing and strongly believing that though one is in a difficult situation, things will improve. This is exemplified in the text when Bethany competes in the Hawaiian Island nationals. Her presence alone gives hope and motivation to others to succeed. Bethany, in the last minute of the competition scores a “9.7” on a wave which required her to only need another “9” to win the national event. Although the siren goes off to end the competition after Bethany has surfed a magnificent wave she “won in everybody else’s eyes.”

Her supporters realise “if you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving. You lose courage to be that quality that helps you keep pushing on in spite of everything.” I found this idea interesting because like resilience and courage hope is needed to not give up on yourself. This world would be a much different place if everyone thought the goals they had set in life were too difficult, they wouldn’t believe in themselves to achieve them. It is a relevant idea to life as “hope will always be the road map to life. It will be ones guide to the path of success and happiness.” Hope is required in many situations. Hope was required in Bethany’s situation and it allowed her to believe she could surf again. Without this hope, Bethany would never have been able to “embrace more people than she would have with two arms.”

In conclusion the autobiography Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton has many ideas that I find interesting. These ideas are resilience, courage and hope. Soul Surfer is an inspiring true story of a girl beating the odds and never giving up. I have learnt that through resilience we can have courage to never give up on our goals. Hope is required along the journey to believe you will achieve these goals. We need to realise that “being knocked down” is part of life and if “we can show people we are strong enough to get back up” success and happiness will follow.

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