Discuss your opinion on the following statement: The theme of American success through adversity is evident in both Seabiscuit and America in the Great Depression.
As Seabiscuit seemed powerless to overcome his obstacles to become a champion, so did Americans hit hardest by the Great Depression. Determination and grit were characteristics of both the horse and the people, and in time, they defeated the obstacles that seemed destined to crush them.
Those who had mettle survived the Great Depression, just as Seabiscuit remained redoubtable. The spirit of independence resided in many of the men and women who populated the America of the 1930s because they were the result of natural selection after all the diseases that killed immigrants and citizens of earlier America, just as the spirit was in a horse sired by the great thoroughbred Man o'War. There is indeed something to be said for good genes.
Yes, in many ways Seabiscuit is a kind of symbol for the downtrodden masses during this trying period of history. In spite of his appearance and his unpromising history, and the many accidents that plague him, he manages to make good and to attain success that dazzled so many around him who dismissed him as nothing more than a no-hoper. Surely we can see the spirit of the underdog in Seabiscuit.
I agree with the statement. I would say that the theme of resiliency is something present in both America of the Great Depression and Seabiscuit. As a character, Seabiscuit represents the embodiment of fortitude through challenging adversity. Like America, Seabiscuit has a past that represents glory, being sired from Hard Tack and the grandson of legendary Man O' War. Yet, he still is awkward to others, symbolic of how America was still perceived in some corners of the world. His suffering abuse at the hands of other trainers and jockeys and being discarded represents how America was brutalized during the Great Depression and how a sense of abandonment was present.
Yet, through the steering and guidance of Red, Tom, and Charles, Seabiscuit ends up showing promise and possibility. In much the same way, this resilience and strength that was encouraged by leaders like FDR helped America to find its own sense of internal strength to endure the difficult times and eventually triumph over them. Seabiscuit becomes "America's Horse" because people recognize their own parallels with this "outsider" who wants a chance to compete and actually wins. For Americans who were outsiders even in their own country, Seabiscuit ends up providing the link, seen sometimes as providence or simply symbolism, that allows for identification and motivation. Given how Seabiscuit rose from the ranks of the anonymous to find and demonstrate himself worthy of success, there becomes a distinct parallels between what he represents and what Americans endure at the time in the Great Depression.