Overcoming Hardships Many people experience hardships within their lives, while some struggle to adapt to the circumstances, others conquer the odds of the situation. In Margaret Lawrence’s The Other Side of the Bridge, Arthur Dunn overcomes his hardships by showcasing forgiveness and achieving self-worth. Ultimately these factors help Arthur to overcome certain hardships and to have a peaceful present and death with no regret of the past. In The Other Side of the Bridge, Arthur showcases forgiveness in order to overcome the hardships that take place within his life.
Firstly in the novel, Arthur forgives himself for not being able to fight in the war, which enables him to overcome his hardships. An example is seen, when Arthur is driven with grief and guilt for not joining the war due to a physical flaw he has, the novel states, “Arthur stopped feeling guilty about being at home. No one had handed him a white feather or crossed the road to avoid speaking to him- everyone knew he had tried to enlist. It seemed he was doing more to support the war effort than his friends were. At least he was producing food.
In fact, he was probably feeding them” (175). Within this quote, Arthur accepts the odds of the circumstance and learns to accept and forgive his flaw of ‘flat feet which is the reason he is excluded from the war. This hardship of being excluded could only be conquered if he forgives himself. With this, he does forgive himself and accepts that he is a part of the war effort in a different way and produces food for the soldiers. This helps Arthur to feel a sense of acceptance and die peacefully at the end knowing he did what he could, out of what he had received in life.
Secondly, Arthur forgives Laura for cheating on him with Jake, and ultimately overcomes the burden of being cheated on to continue to raise a family with Laura. An example is seen when lan and Laura are having a discussion about Arthur as he reaches his last days of life. Ian says, “It’s true, Laura. I know, because in spite of … everything, that is not an unhappy man up there. I’ve spent enough time with him lately to know” (352). In this quote Arthur has to come to terms with the situation of his wife cheating on him with Jake.
In order for Arthur to reach the happiness depicted by lan, Arthur had to accept the odds of the situation and forgive Laura for her role in it. When Arthur is able to forgive Laura and accept the fact that Laura loves him he ultimately gains inner peace and at the end dies a peaceful death with little to no anger or grief about the hardships that had taken place in his life. Furthermore Arthur achieves selfworth which allows him to overcome the hardships he faces in his life. Firstly in order for Arthur to overcome his hardships he had to find his own self-worth of being a valued farmer.
An example of this would be when Arthur was not allowed to join the war and was finally allowed to stay home and farm, Arthur’s father says; “Arthur’s not sittin’ in school when other boys are off fightin’ for their country. That’s what I’m sayin’. If he can’t fight, he has to farm. ‘ His mother said, ‘Henry, there’s no’ but his father raised his hand and cut her off. ‘That’s the end of it,’ he said. “I’m tellin’ you, Mary. That’s the end of it. He picked up his fork and went on with his dinner. And that was the end of it. Freedom.
Nineteen years old, flat footed and riddled with guilt, but free at last” (137). Within this quote Arthur was finally allowed to quit school and participate in his true calling, for majority of his life. With Arthur accepting his reality of being a farmer rather than a school driven man he is able to overcome the hardships of jealousy and envy that came with school. The envy and jealousy that disappeared allowed Arthur to accept who he was and to ultimately gain self-worth. Eventually this allows him to overcome certain hardships with the acceptance he had gained.
Secondly, Arthur had to leave his mother who had never shown love to him in order for him to gain self-worth and overcome certain obstacles. An example of Arthur obtaining self-worth is by marrying Laura and leaving his mother, the novel states; “After a whole lifetime of trying to spare her pain, it hurt him to be the cause of more, but he would marry Laura no matter what the cost. He offered to build his mother a house of her own, closer to town, but she refused even to discuss it. She went to live with a cousin down in North Bay and though Arthur went to see her when he could she never forgave him” (320).
Within this quote, Arthur gains independence when he leaves his mother. This new found independence helps him gain selfworth and accept the reality that the relationship Arthur has with his mother was ultimately unrequited love. The abandonment that Arthur displayed allowed him to overcome the envy and expectations that his mother had on him. Overall losing these traits Arthur was able to gain peace with the fact that his mother may not have loved him the same way she had loved Jake. The peace that Arthur gained, was a way he overcame his hardships.
By the end Arthur was tranquil when he had died because of it, and had not mentioned any thought of his mother causing him grief. In conclusion, in Margaret Lawrence’s The Other Side of the Bridge, Arthur Dunn overcomes his hardships by showcasing forgiveness and achieving self-worth. Ultimately these factors allow Arthur to die a peaceful death with no regret of the past or present. Many people search for ways to overcome certain situations in their life. While many ultimately fail, some find motivation within their own actions and can overcome any obstacle or hardship.