Qualifications of a Hero

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s): 587
  • Published: March 23, 2006
Read full document
Text Preview
"With great power there must also come great responsibility." These words from Peter Parker's uncle, along with spiders attributes, allow Peter to defeat the Green Goblin and successfully to become the hero of the story, Spiderman. Traditionally, characters who carry attributes such as strength and distinguished super-natural powers/abilities and are successful in the end are automatically known as the heroes of the stories. However, what requirements does a character literally need to be an absolute hero? In most novels today, heroes do not often hold such traditional qualities. Many have to put in effort, and pay the price to undergo this honour. In some instances, they may not even be appreciated as the heroes. Within those novels, we can identify that heroes are frequently victims of the society, victims of the immediate envies of others, which eventually lead to hostilities and cause crisis, and victims of their own isolation. These roles of heroes are apparent inside the texts of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.

First of all, in many cases, the heroes play roles of being victims of the society. Surviving under undesirable lifestyles causes people to suffer. They may even face harassment. When enduring in places where their different attributes are obvious to the public and yet they stand out the most, that is when people around start to harass and make fun of them. The theory of harassment as a victim of a society can be seen in Of Mice and Men: "Curley stared levelly at him. 'Well, nex' time you answer when you're spoke to.' He turned toward the door and walked out, and his elbows were still bent out a little" (Steinbeck 26). As a small sized but hot-tempered boxer, Curley only likes little guys because they are who he can easily overpower. However, insecure of his size and is over-protective of his wife, Curley hates the big guys and is eager to fight anyone he perceives as a threat to his self-image. Since he is the son of the boss for whom George and Lennie work, Lennie has no choice but to stay in this terrifying situation. Noticing "His (Curley's) elbows were still bent out a little," proves that Lennie unwittingly incurs Curley's antagonism as well as harassment simply because of his size.

A similar case is shown in "Brave New World". Although John leaves the London Hatchery and settles in a deserted area where only imperfect live exists, the world he is grown to live in is filled with hopelessness and yet the brave New World will stay permanent. As a result, the Savage plans to purify himself and to escape further contamination by the filth of civilized life. "...were astonished to see a young man standing outside the abandoned lighthouse stripped to the waist and hitting himself with a whip of knotted cords. His back was horizontally streaked with crimson, and from weal to weal ran thin trickles of blood" (Huxley 226). This passage clearly demonstrates that he cleanses himself, due to the erroneous community he lives in, by carrying out a traditional Reservation religious ceremony (the whipping). Unlike Lennie, who is innocently harassed by other, John wishes to initiate self-flagellate in order for him to call on the God for forgiveness for his lust for Lenina and lack of concern for Linda's death. In both situations, due to a hero's act of being a victim of the society, he must undergo some sort of harassment. Based on these facts, one can conclude that heroes can still be victims of a society, despite that they have done nothing wrong. Other than being harassed, victims of society can also be controlled by others, which mainly results from having no options at all. In Brave New World, this concept is illustrated: " 'And that,' put in the Director sententiously, 'that is the secret of happiness and virtue-- liking what you've got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their inescapable social destiny' " (Huxley 13). Obviously, after genetic...
tracking img