S. recommended "Nectar in a Sieve" and I am so glad she did because I was not familiar with the title. Maybe it became high school reading after I left school and people decided it was time to highlight other cultures.
I always say that if aliens invade Earth I'm putting myself in front of a laser beam. I can go to movies where people fight for their lives against an unknown force and think "yeah, that is not worth it to me". But how do little changes that continually make your life worse day after day compare? Perhaps it's not hope, or tenacity, but the human drive to keep moving forward. Even as your life is falling apart with loss of money, resources and family you can take solace in love and personal strength. As you lose things do they become less important and you don't really miss them?
I understand why this book is taught and why so many papers have been written about it. You take any of themes from the book and spin them out. It's a good book for a book group and we had a good time discussing it.