Tasia Kimball of Amity High School in Connecticut had her students write blog entries on heroism in September. One of the students referenced this blog which led me to finding all of the others. The students have okayed the use of their work here, so I want to highlight some of them. You can find links to all of the blogs here.
Anna S. has a brilliant definition: “Despite the multitude of traits people seek in heroes, and the many definitions of “right” and “wrong”, a few aspects of heroism seem to stretch across both time and universe. Heroes always fight for a noble cause, they endure sort of hardship, and they never do deeds looking for heroic recognition.” This perfectly mirrors the Hero Workshop definition. She summed up what I’ve been writing about for months in one sentence. Joe W. picks up on the lack of personal gain aspect too saying, “the hero must not act solely for personal gain and be the ‘benefactor of their species.’ (Just to quote Victor Frankenstein).”
Jessie T. taps into what Whitney Johnson has been talking about; that women’s heroism is different to men’s. She says, “what makes a heroine admirable to her audience (mainly women) is not usually her intelligence or skill in combat, traits traditionally applied to male heroes. It is, instead, based on her physical appearance and her ability to help others and keep them- and herself- happy.” Sadly (for me) she concludes that, “someone who needs a hero to inspire him to be brave or selfless has lost his natural ability to be so, and therefore has lost the ability to look out for himself.”
Rebecca G. has a good definition, picking up on the journey aspect: “They are both role models and comrades in our own trials.” She also counters Jessie T. with “no matter how far we come we can always aspire to be greater and feel that we can always better ourselves. Without heroes to model ourselves on, we might find this more difficult. We need them to help us become greater.” Emily C. agrees – “I believe that everyone needs a hero no matter what age, gender, or nationality you are. Having a hero gives you a sense of purpose in your life and a vote of self confidence in a way.”
The everyday hero concept gets acknowledgment from Bridget M. – “heroes are everywhere, they are just regular people who have done great things.” Michael A. agrees that heroes “can be found anywhere even if they aren’t super humans as long as they do whatever to help their fellow man.”
Michaela P. argues that the hero restricts us from action, “Brecht was astute in stating ‘unhappy the land that needs heroes’. When a hero, or heroine, is present there is no need nor urge to step up. Why become braver, fight harder, and persevere longer when society will turn to the immortalized figure for help and idolization regardless?” I’d like to hear some real life examples of this if you’re reading Michaela. I think it’s certainly true in fiction – and is almost cliche now.
At about half way through, I’m going to leave the rest for later in the week so this post doesn’t become obnoxiously long. Feel free to leave your thoughts on these points – especially if you wrote some of them.