One of the experiences I had with this line in real life happens with immigrants. Immigrants, such as my own parents, have to work extremely hard to escape their own impoverished nation and migrate to a first world county such as the United States or Europe. Once they migrate, their children don’t nearly have to face the same difficulties as they had. Horace’s quote claims that the children should now turn out less successful than their parents. But this is not the case. These kids from these immigrants rise to the top.
By having better living conditions and more opportunities than their parents, these kids are able to compete with local children and be highly successful. Although one might argue that adversity was the reason the immigrants were able to succeed in finding the willpower and determination to come to these new nations, it does not explain why their children were so successful. I believe that the children saw their parents struggle and chose themselves to work hard and be successful.
Just as a parent can only push their child to do better in school but only the child can decide wheatear to or not, adversity can only stimulate a response; it cannot cause an individual to be suddenly prosperous. Just as we can see how adversity doesn’t cause people to find hidden talents and prosper against all odds in real life, it also applies in literature. In the novel “The Scarlet Letter”, Hester Prynne doesn’t become motivated to find a new face in the town by the difficulties she faced after public demotion but rather it was her characteristics and innate determination which led her to overcome the challenges present.
These characteristics were present before and after the public demotion proving that adversity doesn’t cause individuals to be suddenly more powerful merely with a challenge. Every challenge requires determination and willpower to overcome. It is not the challenge itself which causes people to find these essential elements. Individuals don’t magically find innate abilities and talents when presented a challenging task. It requires a combination of determination and confidence to overcome these tasks which will something rarely result in the discovery of innate talents. But most of the time, it is just a discovery of making decisions and responsibility. Challenges come often, but they rarely result in the discovery of hidden talents. People know their talents and need to use them to overcome the challenges. We see this in the real world though the children of immigrants as well as in “The Scarlet Letter”. Adversity does not find innate talents for people but rather it is the person themselves.