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Delving Deeper: An Essay Sample on ‘Hidden Figures’ and its Impact

The relevance of history to any society defines its perception of past, present, and future development. According to Crabtree, primarily, history envisages past progress, its challenges, and how its success accounts for the milestone that marks present-day society. Shetterly’s Hidden Figures is a literary work that explores society’s social and scientific progress. Woven in a twisted story of three scientists on the NASA team, the book explores the challenges that have marked the fulfillment of the American Dream. In essence, the American Dream seeks to better and enrich the lives of everyone.

Moreover, it perpetuates the need for an individual to have equal opportunities for their abilities or achievements. The process must not regard one’s social class, ethnicity, or any aspect of gender. Thus, one learns crucial lessons from history regarding achieving the American Dream. In essence, Shetterly’s consideration of the American Dream in Hidden Figures illustrates the need for every member of society to learn from history how different barriers can negate progress.

Shetterly uses three African-American women to show how overcoming the challenges of history is significant in making strides toward development. Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaugh were three females who were enrolled to work in the NASA team. At that time, American astronauts were facing pressure to send people into space. However, before achieving such an objective, they had to conduct analysis and mathematical equations that could guarantee the landing into space. The quest made Katherine be assigned a task in one of the space task groups. However, there was evident segregation in the place. Courage is critical to overcoming many obstacles one meets in life. One must admit that this is one attribute that Katherine Johnson had. It is because of how she could go against the many oppositions that she faced. For example, when she first reported to the office and felt the male-domineering aura, she would have been discouraged and given up on her career. However, she did put on a brave face and chose to work. Katherine’s courage was evident when she faced discrimination. She quietly accepted to use different bathrooms from that the whites used. She did not stage a fight. It was her courage that finally won her a sitting in the meeting. The achievement of the American Dream demands courage and passion in its quest (Wakeman 1). Cullen says, “Primarily when the society envisages a better America, they must come out to fight for their dreams and ambitions as well”. This illustrates the need to struggle for success. Courage and passion are significant in defining the journey. History shows that achieving the American Dream was evidence of overcoming many obstacles (Borstelmann 87). Courage and passion were the ingredients to the ultimate fulfillment of the ambition.

Social and scientific progress remains the core quest of many societies today. Primarily, it is because of the long-term impact that the two aspects have on a nation’s economy. Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures is a classic example of the problems that challenge people in their desire to advance in science and their social lives. The African-American women in NASA are crucial to the development of the area. However, racial and gender discrimination is a hindrance that they have to contend with. The reality that the progress of the entire society depends on various multifaceted factors is evident (Bankes 67). In other words, despite the community being endowed with resources, it cannot progress if it fails to consider others. The ultimate success of NASA emanates from how it handles the social aspects to improve its scientific segment. Social and scientific progress can only occur when society embraces cultural diversity. Social progress demands that people of different races not face discrimination in treatment. The African-American women in NASA faced discrimination because of their skin color. For instance, Katherine was not permitted to utilize the whites’ facilities. She had to walk far to use the bathroom that matched her race. It impeded her ability to accomplish her tasks. It is also important to note that gender inequality is a segment that negates the development of society. When Mary joined the shield team, the men she met were critical of her. They did not view her as someone who would significantly contribute to West Computers. However, her presence became impactful. It is because she could find analytical solutions that helped the team to progress. It reveals how gender inequality can become a hindrance to the advancement of any society. Scientific advancement demands that people work together as a team. Katherine was not included in the meeting because of her gender. However, she was the one who could create an elaborate equation that could guide the space capsule (Shertelly 241). Stafford objected to her inclusion in the meeting.

Nevertheless, Harrison fought to ensure her presence. The event showed the need for inclusivity.

Gansler and Lucyshyn (explore the need for partnered government to ensure the unification of a whole society. In their perspective, the current society faces many challenges that require administration support. Partnered government brings together different agencies to work as a team and ensure that they deal with problems. Partnered government reflects an inclusive society where the government cooperates with private and non-private entities.

Similarly, it is the partnering with NASA that produced success. The American Dream aims for a richer and better American society. It envisages a life free of suffering for its people. However, achieving the objective demanded that society fight against its hindrances. Consequently, history teaches a lesson relevant to today’s society.

Therefore, the past, even the relatively recent past, is in the minds of most of us, enshrouded by mists and only vaguely perceived. Our ignorance of the past and the lack of information is indifference.

The past helps people to create their modernity. Evidently, from history, one learns that discrimination because of ethnic or gender characteristics is the enemy of development. People must seek to embrace harmony at all costs. The American Dream was only achieved when all sectors of the country worked together. Consequently, for the nation to move to its future, it must avoid all the deterrents of progress.

It is, therefore, evident that history plays an important role. There are valuable lessons that the society has to learn. First, courage and passion are critical in the fulfillment of the dream. The three African-American women utilized their career courage and passion to cause progress in the field. They are the heroines of Shertelly’s story. Second, society must overcome barriers to social and scientific progress. The hindrances include racism and gender discrimination, among others. While these social vices are difficult to erode, the community must remain vocal to shun them. The three women in NASA display how society can move against its limitations. The achievement of the American Dream is a process that takes time. On the contrary, it involves going against the norms. The ultimate prize belongs to all members of the community.

📎 References:

1. Shetterly, Margot. Hidden Figures. HarperCollins, 2009.
2. Gansler, Jacques and William Lucyshyn. Partnered Government: The Whole Is Greater than the Sum of the Parts, 01 Jan. 2010.
3. Wakeman, Cy. “Personal Accountability and the Pursuit of Workplace Happiness.” The Forbes, 26 Oct. 2016, https://www.forbes.com/sites/cywakeman/2015/10/26/personal-accountability-and-the-pursuit-of-workplace-happiness/?sh=796208bc1ca2
4. Cullen, Jim. The American Dream: A Short History of an Idea Shaped a Nation. Oxford University Press, 2004.
5. Crabtree, David. The Importance of History, 1993.
6. Borstelmann, Thomas. The Cold War and the Color Line: American Race Relations in the Global Arena. Harvard University Press, 2001.
7. Bankes, John. The Remarkable African-American Women Mathematicians/Scientists Who Helped America Win the Space Race. Wiley, 2015.