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Conflict Changes People for the Better

In: English and Literature

Submitted By emmaho10
Words 1117
Pages 5

Conflicts can be well known, or hidden from society, can be huge historical occurrences, or can be small and unseen. No matter the scale of the conflicts that occur in our world, people, whether directly involved or not, are always changed for the better. A famous example of how conflict changed people occurred in World War Two, where the Japanese soldiers captured many women and children from Singapore. This historical happening of the Second World War has been captured through the art of film by Bruce Beresford. The film, ‘Paradise Road’ told the historical story of these women, whose growth through experiences of conflict changed them for the better. Another famous example comes from the life of Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop. This great Australian man, put others before himself, something he may not have done when living in Australia, shows how the conflicts he found himself in changed him. Oprah Winfrey, a great African-American woman may seem like a woman who has it all, but what many do not realise, her early life lead saw many hardships in which she needed to overcome in order to be where she is today. No matter the situation, these historical men and women all needed conflict to change for the better.
The film ‘Paradise Road’ is the perfect example of how conflict enables one to grow through their experiences. The women (who were taken to the camp) started off as important members of society, coming for highly esteemed classes of people, to important nurses. All were living in Singapore not knowing what hardships were to be faced. One evening, the Japanese attacked Singapore, leading to all women, children and nurses being sent back to England. The women’s boat was however bombed by Japanese aeroplanes, leading to them being captured and taken to the thick jungles of a rural island in and around Singapore. When taken to the place they named ‘Paradise Road’ the women were initially individuals fighting separately but soon became unified in their need for survival. The women banded together, and through their experiences of hardships and conflict were able to grow in order to survive the brutality they faced.
In the early years of her life, Oprah Winfrey once faced great conflict which she then used to become one of the world’s most influential women of our time. Oprah was not born into a rich family with lots of wealth, but rather a family of poor money history. Her mother looked after her and her siblings alone as her father had left to live in Nashville, Tennessee. With the help of her grandmother, Oprah was taught to read and help out around the house. Due to the financial hardships her family faced, her mother and grandmother were forced to send her to school in dresses made from potato sacks. At age six, Oprah was sent to live in Nashville, Tennessee with her father. Here she was brutally molested not only by her cousin, but her uncle, and his best friend. These horrible experiences lead her to become pregnant, the baby however died shortly after birth. With the help of such adversity’s Oprah worked all the way up to hosting her very own TV talk show. Despite criticisms that it would not be a hit, Oprah continued to make the show anyway, eventually being able to create her own magazine and TV channel. The conflict this amazing woman once faced, fuelled her in finding her potential for greatness, allowing her to find her true self and become the powerful woman she is today.

Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop used the conflict he found himself in to become a man whose ability to self-sacrifice saved the lives of many. Sir Edward enlisted himself into the Second World War and was sent to Java, Indonesia. Whilst he was here, the Japanese had attacked the island and captured the town where Weary was living. Sir Edward was the commander of his fellow captured men as well as the doctor who would patch the men up after hours of labour. Instead of leaving men to die, Weary’s self-sacrifice lead him to save many lives, even if it was at the expense of his own. In the film, ‘Paradise Road’, the character of Wing, a Chinese woman in the camp, showed great self-sacrifice when she went out of her way to get the medicine for Mrs Roberts who was ill. Although her actions brought death by flame, the adversity she faced brought out her greater good and helped her realise her ability to self-sacrifice. Throughout conflict, it is only those who are able to overcome fear and begin to realise their greater good, can these men and women also find their ability for self-sacrifice. Throughout the film, ‘Paradise Road’ it is clearly seen that when one is exposed to foreign situations, one is inevitably changed forever. Mrs Roberts was once a woman of high importance, coming from a highly esteemed background and marriage. Once in the camp, this esteemed woman had to be considered equal to her fellow captives. At first this abrupt change from being a woman of high moral, to a woman struggling for survival was found to be too much, but slowly, through her exposure to such a far-off mentality, she was inevitably changed forever. Mrs Rosemary Leighton-Jones arrived at the camp with high hopes of leaving very soon and was sure she would see her husband again soon. After the very sneaky meeting with her husband in the forest, she was over the moon with excitement and love. Once Rosemary realised her husband was to be sentenced to death her entire life changed forever. The situation she found herself in, lead to giving up on life and she knew it and inevitably dying. Through these two examples of the women portrayed in the film it is clear that exposure to such different situations one is unavoidably changed forever. Many famous men and women of our time are all great examples of how conflict will change a person for the better. From great Australian Sir Edward Dunlop who put himself before others in an attempt to save their lives, to Oprah Winfrey, one of the most influential women in society who faced terrible hardships in her early life. These two famous figures did not let their conflicts and adversities take over their lives, but rather used them in an attempt to overcome them. Throughout the film ‘Paradise Road’ many characters provide great examples of how the conflict they faced let them become better woman. Over all it is clear that conflict changes us for the better.

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