"Fugitive Pieces" by Anne Michaels, "The Power of One" by Bryce Courtenay and "Empire of the Sun" by J.G. Ballard

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The power to overcome life threatening experiences helps a person to grow within. In the books Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels, Empire of the Sun by J. G. Ballard, and The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay, the main characters--Jakob, Peekay and Jim respectively--were all able to overcome adversity at a young age. This was developed through their relationships with a father-like mentor, their ability to build courage from fear and their informal education. With these elements they were able to survive through harsh conditions to develop as individuals.

The main characters were able to overcome adverse situations in life through the presence of a father-like mentor. All three main characters were separated from their fathers at a very young age. Having a father figure to look up to is essential as it provides the youth with a sense of support, security and a feeling that they are not alone in the world.

In Fugitive Pieces Jakob is rescued by Athos during the Holocaust. Athos cares for Jakob and takes Jakob in as if he was his own son. "If you hurt yourself Jakob, I will have to hurt myself" (Michaels 45). Jakob was able to rely on Athos as he grew up. He was able to feel "not that [he] owed Athos everything but that [he] loved him" (Michaels 60). Jakob was able to feel safe in his surroundings as a result of the tenderness Athos showed him.

Similarly, in Empire of the Sun, Jim was separated from his parents during the Japanese occupation of China in WWII. He met two people who supported him and helped him to grow. Basie rescued Jim from the streets and took care of him throughout their imprisonment. Jim emulated Basie and wanted nothing more than to gain his approval. "Jim noticed how...