4th August 2017

Significant Connections

“Sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you ever have been, to stand up taller than you ever were.” (Anonymous)


The nature of survival is shown in the texts “Soldier x” written by Don L. Wulffson “Touching the void” Joe simpson “Never fall down” written by Patricia McCormick and the film “Rabbit proof fence” directed by Phillip Noyce. These texts all show the hidden power that individuals have but do not realize they have until they are put in a difficult situation.

“Soldier x”

The nature of survival was firstly shown in the text “solider x” written by  Don L. Wulffson. The book takes place during WW2 and is written from the perspective of Erik brandt who is a half Russian half German boy. The story shows many aspects of survival through the torment of war. The first aspect of survival that was shown is that you have to take risks to stay alive. This was shown when Protagonist Erik Brandt got separated from his squad on Russian frontlines, under pressure he decides to switch his uniform with those of a dead Russian soldier. By doing so he wouldn’t be spotted out as a German soldier thus surviving the incident. “I had only one chance, I knew, to save myself. In that cramped and bloody charnel house beneath the tank, I removed my clothes even my socks and underwear-then exchanged my clothes for his.” This shows how in a tight situation we make the important decisions quickly to survive.  


A second aspect of survival that was shown in the text is that you have to be on your toes at all times. This was shown when Erik is a patient in a Russian medical bay. In the months he stays people ask questions about his past, he lies to the doctors and other patients that he’s suffering from amnesia. “Desperately, I tried to think of the Russian word for amnesia, but ironically, I could not remember it, and found myself staring blankly at the odd group.” There are times where he almost forgets about his whole ‘amnesia’ lie he told but catches himself just in time. “Forgetting myself, I almost responded in German. But I caught myself in time.”

This shows how we always have to be ready for the unexpected to happen and think fast. It also shows that we can’t make mistakes because the consequences could be catastrophic.

“Touching the void”                

The nature of survival was shown in the text “Touching the Void” written by Joe Simpson. A climbing party of two set off to tame siula grande, the undefeated mountain. All is looking good until the descent begins, Joe Simpson the Protagonist of the story falls down an ice ledge which result in him having one of his legs broken. Often climbers are considered dead when a leg break as severe as Joe’s occurs, but this is not where the story ends, this is where it begins. The first aspect of survival that was shown is that you sometimes have to be selfish, regardless of your situation. This was shown when Joe Simpson is being belayed down Siula Grande;he starts picking up speed and calls for Simon to slow down but Simon can’t hear Joe’s cries, this results in Joe being suspended off of a cliff face. In the cold weather he starts developing early stages of frostbite and starts losing his grip. Simon realizes he has a knife in his sack and cuts the rope without hesitation. “The knife. The thought came out of nowhere. Of course the knife. Be quick, come on get it.” This shows us how when we are on the brink of death we have to make vital decisions to ensure our own survival. It all shows how in extreme circumstances we start thinking selfishly and are more prepared to save ourselves than others. Since the emotional bond between Joe and Simon isn’t as strong compared to his parents for example, would he of done the same thing if it were his parents at the end of the rope?

A second aspect of survival is that we have to risks, we may not be guaranteed anything but at least we tried. This was shown when Joe is stuck in the crevasse and is faced with the difficult choice of either trying to climb out of it or abseil further down. He comes to the conclusion that he has nothing left to lose and decides because of this to go further down. “The desire to stop abseiling became almost unbearable.” “The torment of anticipating something unknown…I hung shaking on the rope with my helmet pressed to the ice.” This shows that we can’t be prepared for the future and have to accept the challenges that arise. It also shows how when our life is on the line we take bigger risks because we believe the end(death) is closer. 


This can be related to when Hans had to make that Big decision, his life was on the line and in the heat of the moment he switched clothes with the dead Russian soldier which allowed him to survive. Just like when Joe was stuck in the crevasse and had to decide whether he should go down further or not. They were both in a tight situation where it really came down to instinct. This shows that no matter where you are, if you’re in a tight situation you need to follow what you believe is right.

Never fall down

The Nature of survival was shown in the text “Never fall down” written by Patricia McCormick.The book is written from the point of view of a cambodian war survivor, Arn Chorn-Pond who was taken from his family and forced into illegal child labour under control of the Khmer Rouge. The first aspect of survival that was shown in the text is that you must never give up. The khmer Rouge are always killing the weak children so that only the strong are left, the children of the future, “Never do the Khmer Rouge say, We’re gonna kill you. Always they say something else, like Help us with the oxcart or You going to a new place, maybe so they don’t scream or cry or beg. You scream or cry or beg, they kill you right away.” The Khmer Rouge make the people powerless and are very abusive towards them, many die under their ruling. Arn is forced to push dead bodies into a pit, some not even dead but he keeps pushing them in because if he stops he knows he’ll be joining them. “You,” he says to me. “You put them in the ditch.” I don’t want to do this, but I do it. My body does what this guy says. I push the people, very heavy, lots of blood. I push them into the grave. I do it. One guy, he’s not even dead. They say to push him anyway. The guy with the ax, he look at me. Deep in the eye. To see what I feel. I make my eye blank. You show care, you die. You show fear, you die. You show nothing, maybe you live.” This shows us how we just have to keep pushing through those hard times, we may encounter things we don’t agree with or want to do but they are what make us a strong person later on in life.

“Rabbit proof fence”

The nature of survival was shown in the film “Rabbit proof fence” directed by Phillip Noyce “Rabbit proof fence” is about three young aboriginal girls who are forcefully taken from their home and put into a white native settlement called Moore River that teaches aboriginals how to live as a white people do. The girls escape the settlement but are faced with the challenge of trekking 1500 miles through the Australian outback to there home town Jigalong! The first aspect of survival that was shown is that you have to be one step ahead of the predator. This was shown when Molly uses the rain to cover the trio’s tracks from the tracker Moodoo when they escape from Moore river. The viewer hears Molly say in a stern voice “We just keep walking and the rain will cover our tracks.” Inspirational music is played as we see a long shot of the girls running into the forest. When it begins to rain, they are shown in a three shot and Molly is laughing. This shows how Molly is well adapt to the land and knows how to think on her feet. This aspect of survival was also shown when Molly uses Daisy’s bag as a decoy to lure the Tracker in the wrong direction up the river whilst they head downstream. “Molly orders Daisy to give her, her bag. Molly places it over the reeds in the river. She then says, “In the water, we need to cover our tracks.” A series of slow-motion close-ups show the girls listening.” These aspects of survival show how we need to be equip with good decision making skills and not be afraid to give things a go.

A second aspect of survival that was shown in the film “Rabbit proof fence” is that you have to believe you can do it. This was shown when Molly wakes up to see the Spirit Bird flying above her. The girls were dehydrated, confused and exhausted all was looking down. “A series of close-up show the girls faces and legs, blur in and out of focus. Finally, they collapse and an overhead shot shows them again to look vulnerable in a fetal position. The girls are not only surviving the harsh desert conditions, but also the fact that they might not even make it back home will be filling there heads. “The hawks cry is heard, and then it is seen in a low angle shot. Extreme close ups show Molly looking up at the sky. Close ups show daisy smiling.” Hope is restored as soon as the girls have something to believe in. This shows us that in times of desperation we need something that helps us stay motivated because it can help us achieve our goals.

“Rabbit proof fence” and “Never fall down” have their differences and their similarities. When it comes down to survival however both tell stories of individuals who had to survive harsh times. Arn had a lack of food and resorts to hunting bugs and other small creatures. He also has to undergo long hours of forced work without stopping. There is lots of pressure on Arn because if he makes a mistake he will be killed. This can be related to Molly, gracie and daisies situation, they often lack food but are well equip with hunting skills and know how to use the land to their advantage. They are under pressure because the tracker is always on there tail and if he catches them their journey will come to an end.

Survival is forced upon us in difficult times and we must accept the facts and push on. Without the courage to keep pushing all of these people’s stories would of ended a lot sooner. The greatest reward these people from these stories received was there lives and they will be ever grateful for that. They all pushed on in the most difficult of times and this shows us that overcoming events that take us to our limits, are possible to overcome.

“The most important factor in survival is neither intelligence nor strength but adaptability.”-Charles Darwin

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