In the face of adversity, what causes some individuals to prevail while others fail?
I remember reading an article where there were two sons that had grown up with an alcoholic father. The first son eventually also become an alcoholic and when asked why he said it was because of his dad. The other son had worked hard and had become a successful, alcohol free business man, and when asked why he answered the same way: because of his dad. This brings me back to the question... why did the first son end up like his father, while the second son become a completely different man than his father?
When I was younger I went through some things that most kids don't have to deal with, and the only thing that got me through was my family, especially my sisters. They were such a strong support system and I don't think I would have come out the other end the same person I am if they hadn't been there for me. They gave me strength when I didn't have much.
My book, Peace Like a River, (by Leif Enger) is all about a very tight family and how they face adversity. When the oldest son of the family, Davy, kills two boys then escapes from jail the rest of the family goes on a cross country search to go find him. The whole book is how they support each other constantly and in the end the family prevails through all the tragedies. The reason why is because they face the adversities together and give each other strength to carry on.
Another factor I think is determination. If you have a goal it will keep pushing you onward to overcome the adversity, as opposed to giving up. It could be anything: a goal to beat your enemy, a goal to become like someone, a goal to be unlike someone. In Peace Like a River their goal is to find Davy which keeps them pushing onward, even when they become subject to law. Determination gets them past the many bumps on the road.
So basically there are many different answers to this question and many factors that play into people rising up against adversity as opposed to falling. But these are the two that I see as major themes in books, movies, and real life: support and determination.