November 7, 2014
Persistence: The Key to Change
Nothing in life is free, not even freedom, meaning anything worth having needs to be fought for. In every battle obstacles arise and the test of one character is how they handle these road blocks. Does one give in or persist through? Martin Luther King Jr. in “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and Jose Vargas in “Outlaw: My Life in America as an Undocumented Immigrant” use their personal experiences and stories to prove the most necessary factor in overcoming these arising obstacles is persistence. “Just Walk on By” written by Brent Staples, portrays how lacking persistence leads to accepting discouragement instead of fighting it. Deterrence is inevitable, therefore persevering through obstacles is crucial because without persistence one cannot change society or themselves. This is proven through the authors having persistence or lacking it, King and Vargas have determination to fight which ultimately makes a difference in changing their conditions, and Staples lacking persistence thus not changing his situation. The authors being persistent for a cause, King rebelling not only for himself but for his race, Vargas secretively persevering for his own self-interest, and Staples not being determined for anyone. How other’s pessimism affect the authors, King and Vargas do not allow obstacles to diminish their spirit to fight, and Staples lets society dominant his actions. All three writers are facing race based adversities but they choose to handle the circumstances differently.
King and Vargas both show an impressive amount of determination where Staples lacking perseverance chooses to settle instead of fighting. King shows his persistence by encouraging others not to wait any longer for justice; this is a way to gather fighters and persist to freedom. This is shown in his statement: “Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men…We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right” (King 471). Referring to history, King is effective in proving time does not heal everything. Hard work, dedication, and persistence solves problems; therefore there is no better time to fight these injustices than now. Not only does King show determination to fight for freedom but he also shows persistence in gather others to battle along with him. King has left his mark on society by becoming one of the most influential leaders in history. One major factor in accomplishing this was his remarkable persistence. Similarly to King, Vargas works hard to succeed. He convinces himself if he works hard enough he could achieve citizenship (Vargas 378). He feels hard work and dedication will lead him through difficulties. Vargas was not satisfied with his situation, he did not want to grow up working low paying jobs and never be a citizen. Even though Vargas does not gain immediate freedom or citizenship, he has many accomplishments to be proud of. This is reinforced in the remark: “I was promoted to staff writer…wrote a series on Washington’s H.I.V./AIDS epidemic and covered the role of technology and social media in the 2008 presidential race. I visited the White House, where I interviewed senior aides and covered a state dinner” (Vargas 384). These are few of the many accomplishments which shows persistence is the key to achieving. Vargas does not have the cards in his favor by being an illegal immigrant without documentation, however he perseveres and is successful. Staples not being content with how people view him does nothing to fight it. This is demonstrated in the statement: “I grew accustomed to but never comfortable with people who crossed to the other side of the street rather than pass me” (Staples 357). Even though he never feels okay with people avoiding him, Staples still accepts it and grows accustomed which