In life, everybody faces obstacles that have to be encountered. Sometimes they are good, and other times they are bad. I think it’s the individual coping with these new experiences that leads to significant rewards and life skills that help make growing up and transitioning into society easier. This is shown in the text we studied in class; ‘The Story of Tom Brennon’ by JC Bourke which is a story told through the eyes of 17 year old Tom Brennon. He has to encounter new experiences due to a horrific car accident his brother Daniel caused, killing two and paralyzing his cousin.
The whole family suffers as they are forced from their hometown of Mumbilly due to society’s reaction to the death of their loved ones. This is hard on the whole family as they were so loving and devoted to their home town, especially Tom who was exceptionally close to his brother Daniel. Tom finds it quite hard to come to terms with all the new changes: a new town, no brother, living with his Nan. These are all things Tom finds difficult to adapt to. It makes it not just hard on himself, but also to the other people trying to help him.
Tom learns to cope with his misery, adapt and fit in to a new school and make new friends. His involvement in rugby makes it easier to start to transition into a new town. Tom starts to build a strong relationship with his uncle Brendan who helps the family make their transition into their new town Coghill. Tom feels as though his Uncle is finally someone he can talk to about his emotions. Brendan encourages Tom to go for runs and the ‘ascent’ becomes a metaphor for his mental and emotional progress. As the runs get easier, Tom begins to become more flexible to the idea of new experiences.
Towards the end of the story you get to see the old Tom Brennon again, happy and full of life. This is shown through his relationship with Chrissie a girl who Tom falls in love with. Old Tom never used to speak to girls as that was always Daniels talent, but things have changed. Through their relationship, Tom begins to talk about the accident, and how he felt about it and was affected. By talking to Chrissie he starts to realise that he isn’t the only one who has lost someone they are close to. Chrissie lost both of her parents to alcohol and other substance abuse, she doesn’t let this pull her down.
Chrissie shows how she has also had to experience hardship but comes through these obstacles with a greater awareness of life. Encountering obstacles is also highlighted in the magazine article ‘2 of Us’ by Carla Grossetti, a tragic story of twin brothers Jamie and Andrew Daddo. They encountered a similar experience to Tom and Daniel, with both having to make dramatic changes to their lives and how they cope. This was caused when Jamie was in a drunken state and was hit by a car causing a serious head injury when he was only 18, permanently placing him in a wheel chair.
In the article readers are told of the accident through the perspective of each twin, which gives an insight like Tom, of their reactions to each obstacle. The brothers tell you how they had to stick together, as it was hard times for both of them. Both brothers successfully made their change into the new world and have gained significant rewards. Jamie has learned to accept his dilemma and has learnt valuable life lessons. Jamie now paints and he says that this is something that makes him feel ‘normal again’. Jamie has also found his love, a lady Annie who is a special needs teacher.
Andrew has also learnt valuable lessons from the accident and is now a father of three and also a children’s author/ TV presenter. Both texts talk of how individuals have faced difficult and extreme circumstances. These new experiences highlight how they have to encounter challenges and then overcome these obstacles. With the help of their families and friends they gain significant rewards. This is summed up with Jamie Daddo saying “I now value what I have and appreciate it’s the little things that are important. I think I’m a better person now. ”