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Survival in a Cruel World; A reflection of White Oleander

             The world of today is extremely harsh. As it continues to grow it is becoming .
             increasingly more difficult to live in. It is becoming a place where survival is very impor-.
             tant and it has become the main focus of people's lives. People have discovered many .
             ways of coping in today's cruel world and have developed new ideas of dealing with .
             the issues that they face in their everyday lives. In Janet Fitch's novel, White Oleander, .
             she creates characters who demonstrate the many ways that people survive today. .
             Some choose to survive by lashing out on others, taking their anger and pain out on .
             people who do not deserve it. Others choose to change their personality or appear-.
             ance to create a new form of themselves, one who can cope with the troubles that they .
             are facing. Some people need to feel superior over others in order to survive. Others .
             have to hit bottom before they realize how to survive or even that they want to survive. .
             And there are some individuals who cannot survive. The world is just too harsh a place .
             for them in which to cope.
             To begin, Fitch creates a character who survives by lashing out on others. This .
             character is Ingrid, the mother of White Oleander's main character, Astrid. Ingrid sur-.
             vives through revenge. She gets her strength by taking her pain out on others and by .
             her acts of revenge towards them. After her boyfriend leaves her for another woman, .
             Ingrid copes with her loss by first stalking his every move, showing up at his house .
             uninvited, making threatening phone calls and writing disturbing letters, and finally .
             killing him with poisonous flowers. When Ingrid is in jail, she learns that Astrid is living .
             in a new foster home, one with a mother who actually cares for Astrid. She begins feel-Fitch shows another form of survival in her character Marvel, who is Astrid's next foster .
             parent. Marvel relies on materialistic items and changing herself in order to live with the harsh-.

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