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Defining heroes: The whats, whos and whys of heroism - Essay Example

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An athlete who goes unbeaten for 555 matches. A teenage girl who wears a dress that bursts into flames, in a world where sparks mean rebellion, and rebellion means death. A man who uses his wrongful imprisonment to fight against racial discrimination…
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Defining heroes: The whats, whos and whys of heroism
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"Defining heroes: The whats, whos and whys of heroism"

Download file to see previous pages A man who uses his wrongful imprisonment to fight against racial discrimination. The question isn’t who these people are - that one can guess. Jahangir Khan, the undeniable champion of squash (Willstrop). Katniss Everdeen, the main lead of The Hunger Games, a book set in a world where a small group of elites rule over tortured masses (Collins). Nelson Mandela, the pillar of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa (Robins). The question is what these people have in common. And the answer? They’re all heroes. But what makes them heroes? Based on the research conducted for this essay, I believe all of these people - like all other people accepted as heroes - have three major traits in common: courage to do something bigger than themselves; a massive commitment to excel at their cause; and a strong moral compass. Of course, there are people who would believe that there are other factors that define heroes. This essay will argue that the three traits mentioned above are essential to heroes - in fact define them - and show why other traits do not do justice to the definition of a hero. To begin with, no one without the courage to do something bigger than oneself has ever been seen as a hero. ...
One instance is star golfer Tiger Woods, who spends eight to nine hours a day training and exercising (“Tiger’s Daily Routine”). Another is Martin Luther King Jr., who was jailed for promoting civil rights, but still refused to quite preaching nonviolent civil disobedience (Schraff). Finally, we come to the possession of a strong moral compass. This does not always mean that heroes will follow all moral and ethical values prevalent in their environment - instead, it means that heroes have a strong awareness of what is right and, even if they follow a means-justifies-the-ends approach, will never let go of this sense of moral responsibility. Snape from the Harry Potter series is a good example of this - while he showed a marked bias against Gryffindors and Harry himself, he also made unforgettable sacrifices for the good of humankind (Rowling). In the same way, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela may not have adhered to the laws of the day, but that was because they realized that their moral responsibility was much bigger (Robins; Schraff). Another example of this would be Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird, who chose to defend an innocent black man in a time that racism was alive and active, despite knowing the effect it would have on his reputation as a lawyer, and the backlash it would result in (Lee). Despite these examples, many would debate the essentiality of the above qualities to a hero - over time, different people have argued the essential importance of competence and confidence in defining a hero (qtd. in Cherry). However, it can be shown that - while indeed present in many heroes - these traits need not be necessarily present in every hero. Katniss Everdeen, for instance, was a horrible actress and hence ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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The word ‘hero’ is derived from Greek language which means a mortal that has done something which a normal human can’t do and are considered and regarded as divine figures (LaBarge 2010). According to Jennifer Warner (2004), “the Greek term for hero literally meant someone who was semi-divine and born from one mortal and one divine parent, and eventually Greek society went on to view sporting champions as "born of the Gods.” Without heroes, society can’t achieve progress or greatness, because society wouldn’t have examples of “achieving greatness” or a way to “define our ideals like courage, honor and justice which largely define us” or in other words, who we are in soc
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