Stories of Courage

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LEVEL 3

Stories of Courage
Clare Gray
Stories 5–6: Prisoner for Peace tells the story of Burmese Aung San Suu Kyi, the unofficial leader of Burma. Her government was removed from power by the Burmese army in 1988, and she was placed under house arrest shortly afterward. Since that time she has fought tirelessly for democracy. She was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1991 and continues to fight for her people’s freedom. A Mountain Accident is about Aron Ralston, a US-born hiker whose arm became trapped under a huge rock in the wild, remote Utah countryside. After several days in the open mountains, Aron saved his own life by cutting off his arm and walking to safety.

Summary
Stories of Courage is a collection of eight true stories about exceptionally brave people from different parts of the world. Each courageous individual demonstrates remarkable determination; every story is inspirational. Story 1: In Running for her Life, Ana Quirot, a Cuban world-class sprinter, suffers burns in a terrible accident at home one day. Yet, over the course of several months Ana re-learns to walk and run until she is once again winning medals for her country. Story 2: The true identity of the brave man in The River to Freedom cannot be disclosed. “Matthew” is just one of the world’s brave refugees in Sudan who has escaped persecution in his own country and set up a successful life abroad. He suffered in prison, but managed to run away. He traveled thousands of kilometers, eventually finding peace and freedom in a land far from his own. Story 3: In The Housewife Spy, Odette Sansom worked as a British spy against Nazi Germany and was part of the French Resistance. She was imprisoned, tortured and sentenced to death. Despite these dreadful circumstances she remained loyal to her country and her principles. Her brave actions saved thousands of people’s lives. Story 4: Fighting for the Forest tells the story of Chico Mendez, a Brazilian who devoted his life to the protection of the Amazon rainforest. He fought hard to educate the world about the importance of the forest’s natural resources and the lasting damage that its destruction would have. His campaigns against corrupt businesses and governments regularly meant putting his own life in danger. Although he was killed under very suspicious circumstances in 1988, work to save areas of the forest continues successfully in his name. c Pearson Education Limited 2007

Stories 7–8: The True Courage of Erin Brockovich is about an ordinary mother living in the United States with not much money and not much luck. One day she discovered that a large, rich company was acting dishonestly and possibly putting people’s lives at risk. Against almost impossible odds she helped to win one of America’s biggest court cases against one of the most powerful companies in the world. A Doctor, a Father, and his Son tells the story of Japanese Dr. Fumio Shigeto, Kenzaburo Oe, and Hikari Oe. This is a remarkable example of how one person’s bravery can inspire bravery in others. When journalist Kenzaburo Oe is writing about the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, he meets a Dr. Shigeto, who changes his life forever. Oe is inspired by the doctor’s integrity and is thus able to come to terms with his own problems. As a result, Oe’s disabled son, Hikari, is able to reach a degree of success and fulfillment that would not otherwise have been possible.

Background and themes
Determination and life-changing decisions: Each story in the book is separate from the others. The stories take place at different times, and in different places around the world. Courage against extreme difficulties links the main characters throughout the book. Each one shows bravery, determination, and fearlessness in facing harsh circumstances. Each makes an important decision that changes his or her life forever. Common well-being over personal interest: In many...
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