Mystery of Heroism

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Ordinary people could do extraordinary things is the central theme in Stephen Crane short story "A Mystery of Heroism". Most of Crane's story forced the readers to look beyond his words for a meaningful moral. His subject matter usually deals with the physical and emotional responses of ordinary people confronted by extraordinary experiences or things. He seemed to include each of his stories he wrote with a sense of hope because he was fascinated by the status of a hero. In this story, readers get the impression that you do not have to be super-human to become a hero. Most people think that hero are a person that could "save the world," but in short story "A Mystery of Heroism" the character Fred Collins displays heroism not because he "saves the world," but because he shows courage.

The definition for a hero is a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds. Sometimes a person has to achieve a high enough status to become a hero in people's minds, but Collins is just a simple man who is a Union soldier in the Civil War. Fred Collins is the hero in this story because he shows courage by getting some water that is located across the dangerous battlefield. The brave deed that he did was to risk his life to help a dying soldier. His bravery and kindness prove that he is indeed a true hero. In the story, Collins was thirsty so he wanted some water that is located across the dangerous battlefield. Going against his judgment, Collins decides to make the dangerous trip because of peer pressure. Remarkably, Collins somehow reaches the well of water. He surprises himself because he didn't know that he could make it across the dangerous battlefield. The lines "He wondered why he did not feel some keen agony of fear cutting his sense like a knife… all men who did not feel this fear were phenomena- heroes." (Stephen Crane, par. 55) show that he considers himself a hero at that moment because he didn't have any fear. Suddenly, Collins thinks that he...
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