The following is in response to Robert Loius Stevenson’s “The Obstacle in our Path.”
Stevenson’s gem of a flash prose piece provides an inspiring insight: “Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.” To me, this also implies that you should cherish every obstacle that you face for there is a chance it could better your life.
The sentence “Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables” caught my attention because it introduces an interesting character—interesting in that he was different from the king whereas the merchants and courtiers that, like the king, were wealthy—and because it is the turning point in the piece. At this point, someone is finally engaging with the rock in the road, with the obstacle, willing to challenge it not knowing the outcome.
I’m curious: when the king saw passersby on the road that “loudly blamed…[him]…for not keeping the roads clear” I wondered what the king thought about their words. Did he find it amusing? Did he get angry? If I had to critique Stevenson’s piece I would suggest that he answer this question on the basis that it would give readers more about the king as a character—if he’d found it amusing then he would be more likable as opposed to a tyrannous king that doesn’t like to be talked about.