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Heroes - Essay Example

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The growing heroism in America: Analysis of literature The topic selected for discussion is “heroes”. Heroes have existed in different societies for a long time throughout the history. Different societies gave this status to some individuals from among them because of certain exalted qualities that made them special and stand out…
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Download file to see previous pages Since the 9/11 attacks, heroes have erupted in America like mushrooms. This has caught the attention of the analysts and critics which is why, it is an important topic of discussion in the literature these days. In his article, (Thompson) says that the definition of hero has evolved over time. Historically, hero was somebody with extraordinary powers lesser than the gods but more than the humans. The definition has particularly evolved with important events that have taken place in the history of America. One incident in particular, terrorist attacks of September 11 particularly led to the inflation of heroism in America. Qualities that have been deemed necessary to regard an individual as a hero in America include bravery, nobility, success, and victimhood. In contrast to the old definition of a hero, the modern definition does not imply that a hero necessarily do something as noble victimhood is enough. Thompson suggests that there might exist a strategic reason for the concoction of these criteria that is manifested in politics. Heroism in America is being used to drive people’s emotions in the direction desired by the people in power. While that has yielded favorable results in the aftermath of Sep. 11, the general implications of this practice are negative. Thompson has criticized the criteria that have evolved in America to refer to somebody as a hero, suggesting that these criteria are too unrelated, weak, and subjective to be used for something as special and sacred as heroism. One of the examples of this cynicism is Thompson’s belief that if John F. Kennedy were to compete for presidency today, use of his Addison’s disease to gain presidency would have stood him a better chance of becoming a president than emphasizing his past political achievements. Thompson has supported his claims with facts and examples drawn from the history of America like J. Joseph Moakley becoming a hero only after getting leukemia. The article leads the reader to think that doing job honestly and whole-heartedly in America has probably become close to a miracle which is why some people who do that and come in public notice are rewarded with the status of a hero. Americans have become a little too generous in empathizing with others and declaring them hero. (Klinkenborg) also suggests that since the 9/11 attacks, America has started to use too much of this word “hero”. Soldiers returning from war physically impaired are declared heroes. Excessive use of this word can mean different things; an attempt to dwarf the elitism of the word by creating too many heroes, and a feeling of security associated with a world full of heroes. While it is inappropriate to suggest that the soldiers returning from war should not be declared hero, it must be realized, at the same time, that the definition of the word “hero” has become very hollow. Knowing this, the soldiers are not quite as enthusiastic about endorsing this term for themselves as the American civilians are about giving it to them. This word has become a gesture of lack of comprehension in the American society not only with respect to the meaning of the word “hero” but also with respect to the war against terrorism going on. Klinkenborg has mainly used pictures of the American soldiers ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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