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The Importance of Resilience and Community


Resilience is a virtue that allows people to confront difficulties with courage. Resilience plays a particularly significant role in battling inequalities and achieving justice. Mental strength is the driving force behind the current human rights movement that aims at eliminating racial oppression. Through examining the themes and characters in Hill’s «The Illegal», Pigott’s “Chicken Hips,” and Brown’s “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud,” the role of community support in fostering resilience becomes more apparent.

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Resilience as a Tool for Survival

Firstly, the role of resilience in Lawrence Hill’s novel «The Illegal» is critical since it serves as the primary survival tool. The author explores the theme of human rights issues of the immigrant population. The main character, Keita, is an illegal refugee who seeks opportunities to pay off the ransom for his sister. When challenged with a choice between being safe and reaching the goal, “he decided that he would rather die of a heart attack than not spend every ounce of energy winning the race” (Hill 368). Hill also writes, “You need to go faster when you are tired and ready to give up” (251). These quotes characterize Keita as a survivor who operates on the terms of resilience: despite struggling with constant danger, he stands back up and fights, which is essential when developing the theme of immigration.

Resilience and Community Justice

Secondly, the song “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud” by James Brown explores resilience as the central motivator behind seeking justice – not for an individual but for a community. The prominent theme is the empowerment of African Americans in the face of oppression. Brown urges his counterparts to rise and fight for the nation’s freedom, “We rather die on our feet than keep living on our knees.” Through this verse, the writer communicates the need for collective effort to fight the problem even when threatened. The narrator proceeds to enforce the idea of shared resilience by singing, “Now we demand a chance to do things for ourselves” (Brown). This song’s character and theme portray the need for community involvement and collective strength to respond to historical victimization.

A Need for Support

Thirdly, the short story “Chicken Hips” reinforces the idea of community support in fostering resilience. Pigott narrates a story of a Canadian woman who travels to Africa to reconnect with her ancestors’ homeland. In the process, the protagonist rethinks the concept of beauty and abandons the Western trend of skinniness. However, upon the return to Canada, the main character cannot resist the social pressure, “I reverted to my natural stage: one of yearning to be slimmer and most fit that I was” (Pigott 2). Through this narrative, the author investigates beauty standards and the need for resilience towards public opinion. The main character appears weak and lacks dedication due to the lack of support by stating that her “freedom had been temporary” (Pigott 2). The support of African women who fostered self-love cultivated a healthy body image in the protagonist. However, without their support, the main character cannot resist society, which highlights the need for like-minded people.


The examination of resilience in themes and characters of the literary works of Hill, Pigott, and Brown shows that while it is a necessary tool for survival, it also requires support from the community. Despite being the essential means of endurance in «The Illegal», resilience also serves as a driving force behind changes in African Americans’ historical oppression that Brown reflects in his song. Regardless of its great power, the virtue needs to be continuously supported by the community.

Works Cited

Brown, James. “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud.” A Soulful Christmas, King Record, 1968.

Hill, Lawrence. The Illegal. Harper Collins, 2016.

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Pigott, Catherine. “Chicken Hips.” The Act of Writing: Canadian Essays for Composition, edited by Ronald Conrad, McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 5th ed., 1999, pp. 195-197.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, December 30). The Importance of Resilience and Community. Retrieved from


StudyCorgi. (2021, December 30). The Importance of Resilience and Community.

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"The Importance of Resilience and Community." StudyCorgi, 30 Dec. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "The Importance of Resilience and Community." December 30, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "The Importance of Resilience and Community." December 30, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "The Importance of Resilience and Community." December 30, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'The Importance of Resilience and Community'. 30 December.

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