Study Guide

Hope Was Here Perseverance

By Joan Bauer

Perseverance

"Wherever you go, you'll do okay. You got heart!" (4)

Morty the cabdriver always left big tips for Hope when she waited on him at the Blue Box diner because she always took such good care of him. He senses that Hope keeps going no matter what.

Believe me when I tell you, I know about survival. (5)

Hope really does. She's not expected to make it after entering the world prematurely, weighing only two pounds and unable to eat or breathe on her own. But Hope pulls through. Apparently, her inner resolve is a lot stronger than her under-developed lungs. She's going to need this over the next 16 years more than she'll ever know.

Addie's been my number one constant. She stood by me in the hospital at my little oxygen tent telling me to come on and get strong. The doctors told her to give up, but giving up isn't Addie's way. (6)

Even when the doctors tell Addie that Hope's chances for survival are slim to none, she stays by Hope's side until the tiny baby is strong enough to leave the hospital. Addie doesn't give up on Hope nor does she ever give up on herself. Whether it's a job or a recipe for meatloaf that just doesn't work out, Addie either makes adjustments or tries a new one until everything comes out right.

I don't expect life to be easy. It hasn't been yet and I'm not holding out for smooth sailing in the future. Not everyone likes this philosophy, but it makes sense to me because when life hits the skids, I don't have to regroup as much as the people who walk around in a cloud like the world owes them a joyful existence. (9)

That's certainly one way to put a positive spin on having been dealt some lousy cards in the game of life. Rather than feel sorry for herself, Hope's approach is to turn that frown upside-down and make it work to her advantage.

"This is probably the hardest move we've made together, honey, but we're going to give it all we've got to make it work, and if it still doesn't fit, we'll decide what to do." (22)

Addie's not exactly the cheerful, smiley face type, but when the going gets tough, Addie keeps going. She bolsters Hope's belief that you keep going until things work out.

"I've had one round of chemotherapy, Emma. I'm hoping it will put me into remission."

"What if it doesn't?" someone yells.

"Then I'll do it again." (40)

G.T.'s just as strong as Addie, but he doesn't wear it on his sleeve like she does. The kind man with the "gentle face" keeps it under wraps until he really needs it. What's so special about this guy is that he not only has the courage to deal with the tough things in life, but he does it all with a smile.

"She managed the diner from the bed and the couch upstairs. Did the books, thought up the menus. Gracie'd been sick with rheumatoid arthritis for years, but it didn't stop her." (69-70)

Is there any character in this novel (dead or alive) who doesn't have the strength of an ox?

And I move through it. I always do. (76)

It takes more than a herd of hungry Elks to rattle Hope, even when she's the only waitress left in the diner. Lou Ellen has her first meltdown just as dozens of starving men from the Lodge fill every seat in the diner. Hope encourages Lou Ellen to go home and as soon as the weepy waitress checks out, Hope kicks into high gear. She puts on a smile, laughs at the men's corny Elk jokes, carries as many plates of pork chops that her arms can hold, and refills empty coffee cups faster than a speeding bullet. She's got confidence in her ability to get through times like this.

"I looked at his face, so determined, so tired. He was fighting for strength—pushing, straining to make this day count." (112)

A day of campaigning tests G.T.'s physical and mental stamina. G.T. refuses to fail. He knows there are no "re-dos" in this class, and he has promises to keep and miles to go before he sleeps.

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