Monster and Hero

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Thuan Pham
WRT 102
Monster and Hero
Throughout history, the image of monster and hero has been very familiar and popular in literary works. Maybe the first literary image of monster and hero appeared in the Greek mythologies. Monster usually represents for evil and for what human wants to fight against. Otherwise, hero represents for the good, the beauty and for desire to overcome the limitations of human being.

In the sections I have read, the character which I consider most heroic is Superman. Though I am not an American, I watched movies and read a lot of comic books about Superman when I was child. Like other children, he was the one whom I wish I could be. First Superman has a perfect morality. Superman chooses to do right because of his willingness and his own righteousness. While other superheroes do rights because of their personal incentives such as Batman or Spiderman. Moreover force is just the last choice of Superman when there is no alternative way to deal with fight. Though he is so powerful, he never looks himself above Earthlings. He never sees himself as God, but he just considers himself as a guardian for the weak. I remember a quote, “The real power is not to tread other’s shoulder underfoot to satisfy personal egoism, but the real power is to lift other on our shoulder.” Superman has that real power.

Second important element which make Superman become true hero is his identity as Clark Kent – newspaper reporter. With Clark Kent, Superman can have the conversation with normal people, can understand their points of view. He can view the world through the eyes of normal people. As a reporter, he has the chance to contact with variety of people. As a result, he has more sympathy and it supports for his actions and decisions as a Superman. That is one important reason that he usually tries to avoid using force if it is not the only last choice. In many situations, Clark Kent is very useful in regulating the image of Superman in the eyes of other people. Obviously, there are many people doubting about Superman’s motive just because of he is so powerful. Clark Kent in many contexts directs people to think positively about Superman. He does not want to control his public image. He just hopes that people trust him and understand him more. As a Christian, I see there are a lot of similarities between Superman and Jesus Christ. Jesus walked the world as a human, suffered miseries, experienced limitation, and weakness of human. Thus, Jesus can feel sympathetic for human.

Last but not least, his mobility makes his most heroic. He has incredible speed. He can fly and can hear a call for help from everywhere, so he can approach immediately. Superman does not protect not only his city - Metropolis but also the global world as we can see in the movie “Superman Return I”. I see there is a similarity at this point between American and Superman. With me, the American seems to take cares of not only their own country but also the world. For example, American helped Iraq, and recently Libya to eliminate dictatorialness and so on. With his mobility, Superman can help many people mostly at the same time.

About the monster, in my opinion, the most monstrous character is Arnold Friend in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” of Joyce Carol Oates. First, after reading story, many people and critics believe that Arnold Friend is fictitious character which is created by the imagination or dream of main character Connie (Gratz par 1). On the other side, I see that Arnold Friend is the embodiment of Devil or Satan who took advance of Connie’s desire to be free from her family and to explore her own sexuality. With the physical monster or, at least, we know what we have to fight with. However Arnold is a kind of spiritual monsters which attacks the choice between right and wrong inside Connie. The invisible enemy is always much more dangerous than visible enemy. Her dream or her imagination about Arnold...
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