A Bridge to Reality

Being a student means a lot, there are assignments to do, focusing on friends, and trying to find yourself. One main hurdle a lot of students deal with is expectations. Many of these come from yourself, parents, or really anyone that has opinions about you. One of the hardest expectations to exceed comes from our parents. They are the ones who raised us, the ones who sacrificed so much just for a better life. We are just like bridges. Some are built more sturdy, with different shapes, colors, and sizes. Expectations are the everyday people that cross the bridge, too much weight and pressure then eventually it’ll snap. This is shown in one of my favorite movies, The Book of Life.The pressure to meet these expectations is immense, the pressure to do things they approve of, just for a slimmer of validation. As cheesy as it is, eventually you’ll learn to break free and just follow your heart. Being happy with yourself feels better than the slight temporary validation.

The main character Manolo comes from a long line of bullfighters, yet he despises the idea of harming an animal in such a way. All he wants is to play music, but he struggles because he must continue being a bullfighter for his family. Just like every protagonist, Manolo eventually went against the odds and followed his heart. This type of scenario is just like The Last Bookstore. A man who followed his ideas when most statistics saw failure in the future. A lot was on the line for both of them, money, fate, and in Manolo’s case life. To get to this place sacrifices had to be made, their bridges snapped. This is a good thing, the bridge to old life and expectations is gone, the only thing left is to build a new one towards a better future. 

No matter how long it has been, the effect of doing something you don’t want to do will be there forever. The Book of Life is a story being told through a story. Even after the main plot happened years before, the tale continues to spread and more people will know about it. Barry Lopez expresses this lasting effect words can have, “…I was affected in that moment by the women’s words. This effect, for all I know, has lasted a lifetime.” Scars are permanent, dents and fractures leave disfigurements for an indefinite amount of time. This is ever more obvious on structures like bridges, it leads to the slow decline of stability.   

To do such a task is gut wrenching, the anxiety felt is worth it most of the time. It takes courage crossing a rickety bridge, but it is another knowing when to let go of that bridge. Manolo takes this action, breaking away from a bridge that is on the verge of collapse. He faces death and believes the only way to get through is his family’s way. A toxic family relationship was broken through changing tradition. Marge Piercy pokes fun at such toxic traditions of the vision towards women: “It is your nature to be small and cozy, domestic and weak.” Change is necessary for a change in relationships and evolution. Change is the hammer, the key to fixing a faulty bridge.

Bridges go through a lot, being built specifically to withstand weight and pressures. It is impossible for anything to hold too much pressure, an example of expectations. The bridge snapping is bound to happen eventually, but it can sometimes lead to new hopeful beginnings. The Book of Life shows an example of the new beginning, Manolo is an example of change leading to a better future.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s