Overcoming Obstacles: Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey Struggles Overcoming Life After Being Abused

Oprah Winfrey: Childhood

Oprah Gail Winfrey was born on January 29, 1954. Winfrey suffered from abuse from her strict grandmother, where she was raised on a small farm in Mississippi. Winfrey was whipped for the little mistakes she made and was never forgotten. At only three years old, she was taught how to read and was given praise for reading from the Bible at church services, which influenced her decisions in her life to come. Due to her ability to read and write before the age of three, when enrolled in school she was often promoted several grades ahead of her age.

Oprah Winfrey: Mid Life Crisis

At age nine, Winfrey was left with a her nineteen year old cousin who very irresponsible and had no common sense and ended up raping her and even years after she still suffered from sexual abuse. At thirteen, Winfrey ran away from home, due to the years of abuse, and she began living with her father in Tennessee.Toward all these incidents, she never told a soul because the predators swore her to silence. At the age of fourteen she became pregnant with an ill son who died shortly after birth. Oprah took the death of her son as she was given a second chance in life.

Oprah Winfrey: Overcoming Conflicts

Winfrey started to begin to overcome her conflicts of being abused and living in poverty, once she began high school. At the beginning of high school at Nashville East, Winfrey started to bring herself out more and that changed her life because as a child she was often abused for saying anything really. Being at school made her comfortable and she started to become more confident in herself. Winfrey is thankful for those years living in poverty, because it only made her success more rewarding to her.

Oprah Winfrey: High School

Once Winfrey moved with her father, he made sure education was a priority. Oprah Winfrey said her father saved her life. He provided her with guidance, structure, rules, and books. She was required to complete weekly book reports and she went without dinner until she learned five new vocab words each day. Winfrey started attending Nashville East High School, where she took numerous public speaking and drama courses throughout the years. Winfrey was also nominated and even elected as school president. In an Elks Club speaking contest, she won a full scholarship to Tennessee State University. The following year she was invited to a White House Conference on Youth. Winfrey was crowned Miss Fire Prevention by WVOL, a local Nashville radio station, and was hired by the station to read afternoon newscasts.

"I know what it feels like to not be wanted...you can use it as a stepping stone to build great empathy for people."

Oprah Winfrey Interview - Best of Oprah Winfrey - 1 Minute Motivation

Oprah Winfrey: Accomplishments While Overcoming Conflicts

As Oprah finished out her high school career, she was offered a full scholarship to Tennessee State University and was offered many broadcasting jobs because she excelled in public speaking. After taking part in many jobs, Winfrey became the talk show host of A.M Chicago, which was the highest rated talk show and was later renamed "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Winfrey is only building onto her successes and proved that by creating a monthly magazine, commonly known as "O, The Oprah Magazine" which has also produced many different films, television programs and Broadway musicals. Winfrey was nominated for Best Supporting Actress because of her role in "The Color Purple."

Character vs. Self

Oprah turned to a life of rebellion and drugs. It was not until she went to live with her father, who imposed strict discipline on the young Oprah and encouraged her education that she began to turn her life around. With a renewed focus on school and the encouragement of her father, she overcame the mental trauma of harassment and went on to win a scholarship at a reputable university.

Character vs. Society

Oprah Winfrey faced many other challenges following abuse, including racism. Oprah experienced racism from African Americans, who believed she was only hired as a ‘token’ minority due to sayings that were imposed following the riots. Reflecting on her youth, Oprah says, “You can take from every experience what it has to offer you. And you cannot be defeated if you just keep taking one breath followed by another.” Despite the blows she was routinely dealt, Oprah never stopped fighting to achieve her goals. She became the youngest news anchor and the first black female news anchor at Nashville’s WTVF-TV.

Works Cited

Bio.com. A&E Networks Television. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.

"Lesson #2: Rise Above Your Obstacles by Oprah Winfrey." Lesson #2: Rise Above Your Obstacles by Oprah Winfrey. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.

"Oprah Winfrey Interview - Best of Oprah Winfrey - 1 Minute Motivation." YouTube. YouTube. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.

"Overcoming Obstacles: What Oprah Winfrey Learned From Her Childhood of Abuse - K12 - Learning Liftoff - Free Parenting, Education, and Homeschooling Resources." K12 Learning Liftoff Free Parenting Education and Homeschooling Resources. 07 Jan. 2015. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.