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Courage is keeping strong and positive through hard and challenging situations, overcoming obstacles and overcoming your fears. An outsider is someone that has been alienated from the community. In the novel, Trash, by Andy Mulligan, courage is explored through the story of Raphael, Gardo and Rat; three dumpsite boys who hope for a better life. These boys don’t have any parents, they cannot afford any education but they have a lot of courage and hope. Trash teaches the reader how resilience, as well as strength and sacrifice, are vital to survive and overcome challenging obstacles.
Sacrifice is a vital aspect of courage as it involves giving up things that you value, or even putting your life in danger for the sake of others or the greater good. The high modality language in Gardo’s quote, “We knew that soon we would be leaving. That it was not possible to stay much longer in Bahala” creates sympathy in the reader and validates the fact that Gardo, Raphael and Rat have made a conscious decision to sacrifice their home, to fight for a better lifestyle.
The emotive language in Raphael’s thoughts, “Part of me was begging not to give up – maybe for Jose Angelico because we knew about him now.”
This sentence makes the reader feel concerned, scared, and worried about Raphael. This emphasizes that sacrifice can involve putting your life in danger. This reinforced the metaphor “broken” which represents both the physical and emotional pain Raphael is putting himself through.
Therefore, Mulligan is demonstrating how sacrifice is a vital and key aspect of courage. Resilience is displayed in Trash as a vital aspect of courage as you have to bounce back after terrifying situations. The author uses hyperboles such as “What Raphael told me scared the life out of me” and from this, the reader gets a sense of the fear that the trash boys have to overcome to solve the mystery of Jose Angelico. The figurative language used in Raphael’s quote “Running for your life two times in one day? We were so scared we thought our hearts would blow apart,” this shows the reader how hard it is to continue on when you know you could die at any moment. The author depicts the character’s resilience in the text which adds to their qualities of courage. Strength is a key element of courage. Andy Mulligan shows the reader the strength of his characters throughout the book.
For example, he describes a scene with Raphael and the police. In this scene Raphael “Looked into his eyes, trying so hard not to look scared”… this describes how strong Raphael has to stay while staring into the eyes of the authority, lying to protect himself and his friends. Another example of strength refers to Rat’s home. “I would not have lived there … I would have been scared that the trash above would fall … trapping me”. This demonstrates the courage of one of the dumpsite boys and their strength to survive. Courage is about having strength, sacrifice and resilience to keep moving on with your life and to persevere through tough times. The author Andy Mulligan wrote this story to teach us about how having courage and how just three dumpsite boys that have been alienated from their community can make a big difference in society by not giving up when things started going downhill.
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