Finding Meaning in a Stolen Life

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Lincoln Daniel
Mrs. Munn
English 12 Block 4
18 December 2012
Finding Meaning in a Stolen Life

It is said that all life does indeed involve suffering but it is what we make of this suffering that will determine whether or not we find meaning in our life. One must look within and around himself to create meaning in her life; one can finding meaning by creating works or doing deeds, experiencing things or encountering people, and choosing one’s attitude towards the suffering in her life. There will always be obstacles in the way to meaning—the tragic triad of pain, guilt, and death—but one must use this to fuel your drive to find meaning by maintaining tragic optimism—faith, love, and hope. Many people lead difficult lives, however, some find meaning and others choose not to. In the memoir A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard, Jaycee Dugard is put through what she describes as an “intolerable situation,” but manages to make meaning of the suffering in her stolen life. Jaycee Dugard has experienced tragic triad: pain, guilt, and death. She deals with pain throughout the entirety of her early life. The main source of her pain and suffering was Phillip who kidnapped and put her through hell on earth. Jaycee recalls the day Phillip took her—the first painful experience she had with the man that would strip her of her innocence. Jaycee recollects what was running through her mind at the time of her traumatic abduction: “Someone is dragging me and I am being lifted. My limbs feel like they weigh a ton. I try to resist and try to push away from farther into the bushes. The paralyzing feeling returns accompanied by a strange electrical current zapping sound. I am helpless to resist for some reason.” (9-10). It is not long after her abduction when Jaycee is put through an even greater mental test. She has been scare and alone since she was taken from her world on that faithful day and now Phillip would only make her more scared and alienated. Phillip does to Jaycee what nobody should ever have done onto them. She experiences pain physically and mentally when he rapes her and she remembers him trying to justifying her suffering: “He says it would be easier on me if I didn’t resist or struggle so much next time. He says it wouldn’t hurt as much. I think to myself, if you didn’t do it in the first place then it wouldn’t hurt at all. But I am too frightened by his act to say a thing in objection to him.” (31-32). Jaycee feels her first sense of guilt in her new life when she is given a kitten. Her kidnappers brought her home a kitten and she was happy but says, “I have begun to feel guilty for asking for her in the first place. I should have thought about the place we were going to put her. This is no place for a kitty. He says his aunt is an animal lover and will take her.” (41). She does not want the kitten to stay in the little room with her because she knows it is not fair for the kitten to not have a lot of space to run around and be happy. Her giving the kitten away makes her feel better because she knows it is not good for the kitten to be stuck in the room of suffering. She manages to get over this guilt but soon she is faced with a greater obstacle. Jaycee experiences death for the first time. It is not that of her own life but the death of one of her animals that brings her greater suffering she notes, “Blackjack lived a long life. Toward the end I took primary care of him and I was the one that found him when he died. It was very hard for me. At the time, I had made a cat enclosure which he would go in at night to keep safe, and that’s where I found him one morning… I cried a lot for him.” (160). Jaycee was an animal lover and for her to find the cat she took care of dead was very hard for her. However, all of these experiences made her a stronger person. Jaycee did not allow the tragic triad to keep her from making meaning of her life. She kept searching. Jaycee Dugard was on her way to countering with two...
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