Resilience of the Human Spirit As Observed in The Autobiographical Work of Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom


  • Kavitha Karen Xavier PhD Research Scholar Department of English and Research Centre Holy Cross College,Nagercoil Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Abishekapatti Tirunelveli 627 012,Tamil Nadu, India


Any subject dealing with the study of Autobiography brings into question the meaning or origin of the word and its definitions. The word Autobiography is derived from three Greek words: autos, bios, and graphein meaning ‘self’, ‘life’ and ‘write’ respectively. This style of life writing has been around for centuries and it was not classified as a literary genre until the late eighteenth century.Every autobiographical work tends to be a cry for the expression of identity and every autobiographical study yearns to understand the evolution of the individual.Anyone familiar with the life story of Nelson Mandela will know that his very name is synonymous with the word ‘resilience’. Nelson Mandela spearheaded the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa and emerged victorious after spending 27 years in prison. His is no ordinary story and the human soul cannot fathom how Mandela stood by his ideals and liberated his people from oppression and suppression. It seems inconceivable to maintain sanity, dignity, hope and a reason for existence under severe oppressive forces, that taxed the spirit, body and mind of political prisoners. But Mandela possessed an inner strength that could not be diminished, it shone forth brightly, enlightening this great man and ensconcing him in its powerful aura.


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