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Heros - Essay Example

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True Meaning of a Hero The idea of a worthy hero has been deeply ingrained in American society ever since it won independence in 1776. However, over a long period of time the meaning behind this word has changed due to various factors, such as a shift in culture…
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Download file to see previous pages Thompson approaches a sensitive subject, the 9/11 attacks, by surmising that not all of the victims of that horrible event can be considered as heroes. According to his words, a true hero is someone who performs an act of bravery or nobility, and the simple fact is that very few of the victims on September 11, 2001 demonstrated one of or both of these values. The gist of Thompson's article is that we now tend to bestow hero status on someone out of sympathy for their plight rather than anything they may have done to deserve such an accolade. Similarly, but in a different way, in "Returning from Iraq, the Damage Done" Verlyn Klinkenborg writing with the Mother Jones news organization makes the argument that many of us do not truly understand what it means to be a hero. Society, and to a large extent the media, is too quick to throw the word hero out there without first qualifying its appropriateness and/or meaning. Klinkenborg goes on to state that American soldiers who have lost limbs overseas are often portrayed as heroes, even though their misfortune may have been as a result of an accident and they have not yet accomplished anything meaningful. The link between the two articles is that while having heroes to aspire to can be a good thing, if it is used to often then it can losing some of its meaning and value. In the article "Hero Inflation," author Nicholas Thompson is quite firm in his argument, yet at no time is her overbearing or insensitive to the views of others. One such example is when he says the following: "The victims of the terrorist attacks deserve tremendous sympathy. They died tragically and often horrifically" (Thompson, 2002). Thompson goes on to state that America as a country does like to honor those who have fallen in tragic circumstances, but changing the definition of a hero does these people no good and in fact weakens our ideals of what a hero means to us. Further on Thompson lists some people that almost everyone would consider heroes (Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Oskar Schindler, and Henry Johnson), but the common link between all these people is that they performed acts above and beyond what was expected of them or else did something very brave and endangered their own lives. Besides heroic acts and bravery, Thompson also lists success as the third factor in conjuring up a hero. By listing all of his criteria as to what a hero is in his eyes, Thompson is then able to successfully move onto to describing what a hero is not. This form of persuasion is quite compelling because it helps to get the reader onside. Beginning with a positive tone and then moving onto the negative helps to form a well-rounded argument. If Thompson had begun with what a hero was not, many readers may have lost interest because the opening stanzas of the article would be deemed too negative. Thompson comments that although heroes have primarily needed to fulfill those three requirements, there is now a fourth—being a noble victim (Thompson, 2002). Thompson continues by stating that some heroes may also be victims, but being a victim does not instantly make someone a hero. Thompson ends his argument by suggesting that many of the victims of 9/11 were termed heroes because it was a time of desperate need where the American public needed to keep hope, something which almost all heroes provide. In "Returning from Iraq, the Damage Done," author Verlyn Klinkenborg has much of the same tone but comes from a different angle, such as "It's ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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