Literature: Bravery in the Stories “Hollow of the Three Hills” and “The Bath” Essay

July 16, 2021 by Essay Writer

Updated: Mar 23rd, 2020

Bravery is a courageous behavior or character. It comes in many forms and does not necessarily mean being unafraid. Rather, it is borne out of the desire to tackle fears and come out triumphant over them. It is about doing something that one is not sure will work when the odds are stacked against them.

The stories the “Hollow of the Three Hills” and “The Bath” portray various kinds of bravery. The main character in the first story is driven by curiosity and regret to seek the services of a witch to help her escape her shameful past before she dies. In the second story, an old woman bravely defies her age to perform her duties despite her physical and psychological shortcomings.

In the first story, a woman who has a stained past tries to run away from her problems, thinking that she would end her troubles by doing so. In the process, she realizes that problems, regardless of their magnitude, are recurrent until they are faced head-on. She convinces herself to go to a witch who would help her to find out what was happening to her loved ones. She shows great courage in meeting with a witch in a grotesque location where no mortal could see them.

Knowing her demise is close, she accepts her fate and does whatever the witch instructs her to do. The eerie looking witch beckons her to draw closer and kneel before her. Such moments are known to instill fear even in the bravest of people. She only hesitates for a moment, but the anxiety, which had already been burning in her, drives her to surrender bravely to the witch’s demands.

Even more chilling is that she is told to lay her forehead on the witch’s knees, an instruction to which she complies. A black cloak is then drawn on her face, leaving her in complete darkness. Amid these chilling moments, she mutters a brief prayer and cries only momentarily. Upon recollection, she bravely silences herself and remains as still as a dead being.

Through the power of magic, she is then shown what her parents are going through and saying at the time with her father particularly lamenting over her unbecoming deeds. When the witch makes strange prayers, a cacophony of bizarre sounds is heard. Apparently, she was resigned to dying in the hands of a witch and as such, she braves the process as she awaits her fate.

In “The Bath,” an old woman who has been a widow for seventeen years strives to perform her duties despite her failing physical and psychological state. She feels tortured by her age and finds doing things as simple as taking a bath almost too demanding. Nevertheless, she pushes herself to do her chores however much she resents it. Looking at her situation deeply, one realizes that it is no mean feat to accomplish what she does given her state.

She feels pain in her back and her body is failing her, but amazingly, she pushes on bravely and makes it a habit to place flowers on her husband’s grave every year. It may not seem much of a task to a young and energetic individual, but for an aged woman, it is certainly an excruciating undertaking that drains her body and mind.

Years of living without a companion have taught her to do things single-handedly, and she often pushes herself over the limit to accomplish the tasks. Making tea, crossing traffic, yearly cemetery visits or even taking a bath may not seem that much of a task to younger people, but for an old and feeble person, it calls for sheer bravery to accomplish these tasks as shown in “The Bath.”

Both stories portray bravery but from contrasting perspectives. In “The Hollow of the Three Hills,” the young woman accepts her fate when she faces death. She bravely watches the witch perform magic, knowing that she is living her final moments. She is a young woman who thought that the only way to escape her dirty past was through death.

Consequently, she bravely undergoes her final moments hoping to get liberated from her tainted past by death. In contrast, the old woman in “The Bath” makes a great effort to live amid a fair share of difficulties. She chooses not to run away from her troubles and instead strains every day to take care of her chores.

She has a strong will to live and it is only through sheer bravery does she manage to keep her life going. The younger woman has the bravery to face death while the old woman lives on bravely and faces the troubles that life brings her way.

In conclusion, it is apparent that bravery influences people in different ways. On the one hand, it can give a person the will to fight on even if the odds are against them. On the other hand, people can exhibit bravery by conceding defeat and even accepting death. Thus, bravery can push one to lose hope in life or give them the strength to soldier on even in the most discouraging moments.

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