The Art of Resilience

August 11, 2021

Through the theme of resilience, Low Entropy Volunteer Writer Christina Liao finds the link between fantasy and reality.


Spoiler alert: this article may contain spoilers for Six of Crows.


Six of Crows is a fantasy novel that features six protagonists, and is part of a duology that shows how resilience can get anybody through anything – even raiding a top-level security government building. Chosen as one of Time magazine’s contenders for the top one hundred best fantasy books of all time, it’s a heist story written by Leigh Bardugo, and is inspired by the likes of the film Ocean’s Eleven. It is a contemporary example of resilience in media, and encourages modern-day readers to want to be more like the characters in the book.


The characters in Six of Crows all exhibit resilience at some point throughout the series, whether it’s Kaz’s never-ending scheming and conning, Jesper accepting himself and the powers that he has or Inej finding ways to be grateful towards a life that’s been nothing but hardship. It shows that no matter how young, resilience is necessary in order for success. 


Of all of the novel’s six protagonists, Matthias Helvar is the most resilient. Not only was he imprisoned in one of the most brutal prisons in a foreign country because of someone he trusted, he also changed his antagonistic world view about Grisha (people who practice magic) throughout the course of the two books, only to die at the end. Matthias is from a country known as Fjerda, and his people actively hunt Grisha because they think that they’re unnatural abominations. After falling in love and pledging his life to the same person he thought betrayed him, however, Matthias had to unlearn years of propaganda from his government and the country that he served and loved. Even as he died, his final wish was for his lover – Nina Zenik – to show mercy to his people, the same people who saw him as a traitor for associating with a Grisha, and the same people who ended up killing him.


Matthias is the very image of resilience – even though he died, he stayed resilient to the very end and was the embodiment of honour.


In everyday life, resilience can be seen in less dramatic, but equally profound ways. A child falling off their bike and getting up, a student who does not do well on an exam and then proceeds to study harder, or a single parent who continues to go to work even on the worst of days. Resilience is something that everyone has the ability to find inside them, and rise up from hardship, even though it’s difficult.


It is because resilience is difficult that it is also so important. A person needs to be resilient if they wish to succeed. Although life can throw curve balls at us and put us in difficult situations, resilience is the key to get us through those tough times. Through art, we can see that it’s an art to be resilient. If everyone engages with this art, our society can only become stronger.


Tell us about a time you had to be resilient. Share your stories in the comments below, or in person at a Conscious Connections meeting!


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