2013-Lori & Yvonne Essays

1st place winner
Lori Crandall

“May the Road Rise Up to Meet You” is an inspiring novel of four individuals whose lives have been transformed through hardship and perseverance during the Civil War. Each character in this novel shows strength, bravery, and passion in a time when there is tremendous loss and sadness. The lives of these four individuals collide, changing their futures forever. This novel shows the true meaning of fighting for what you believe in.
If I could meet one of the characters, I would choose Marcella. In some ways, Marcella’s story reminds me of details in my life. She is depicted as a strong, free thinking woman, who is not willing to compromise her beliefs to satisfy society’s image of how a woman should act. Marcella challenges the beliefs of her father, her brothers, and others who accept slavery and minimize women’s roles in society. She is not afraid to be disowned by her father, lose her share of the family fortune, and move out of her family home so she may do her part in the fight against slavery. After leaving her family home she meets a man, one of the main characters in the novel, Ethan McOwen, and falls in love. After Ethan decides to leave and return to the battlefields, Marcella trains to become a nurse and assists in the hospitals, caring for wounded soldiers. In the end, she reunites with Ethan and gains more fortune than she could have ever imagined, a loving husband, a daughter, and dear friends.

2nd place winner
Yvonne McCauley

If I had to choose one person to meet in “May the Roads Rise Up to Meet You”, I would choose Ethan McOwen. I would choose Ethan because, when his story is first being told it shows how his life is this everyday poverty stricken mess that most people would just strive to survive through and not really look for anything good in the bad situation. In Ethan’s case from the time he is in Ireland to the time he travels over to the America’s, he still has a hope that he holds on to and an optimism that he makes a point to keep, I would want to meet a person like this in hopes that maybe some of this endurance and good quality good rub off on me. For example, when he is in Ireland and his sister Aislinn and he read all the classic novels and act out the scenes at night as a source of family entertainment. It shows that though there are many problems in their life with the great hunger, it could be that they would choose not to enjoy anything and just mope around. However, both of them together put their heads together and make up these plays that make their aunt and mom laugh and have a moment of peace and happiness away from the worries of the world. Another quality I notice Ethan has is self-sacrifice. After his sister dies in Ireland and they get ready to move on to America he plans to take the books that remind him of his sister and that are very dear to him but as his family walks the journey to the boating docks three days away he slowly puts books in random spots so that he can carry his aunts plates that become too heavy for her to carry. She later gets them back for him while he sleeps but later he then again, gives one of the books to a beloved friend he meets on the boat to America that saves his life as a thank you as this quality is so rare it’d also be a quality I would love to see in person.
So it shows that he appreciates people and is willing to give up things that are dear to him for the happiness of others. Then, when he arrives in America, he tries out for the huge University but doesn’t get in he doesn’t let it discourage him which is the best quality he has which is determination.
He is an over all, very strong character that throughout the entire novel follows his dreams and ambitious and partnered with his determination and caring heart he is the perfect role model of a character I would aspire to be in this novel. If I could meet a character in this novel, it would definitely be Ethan

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