???By a hero, we tend to cling to a heighted man??¦the sort who risks his life to protect his society??™s values, sacrificing his own personal needs for those of the community??? This is a quote from, The Adventurer: the Fate of Adventure in the Western World, which opinionatedly defines heroic attributes. Apart from being unnecessarily specific on gender, I agree with this definition of a hero. Though everyone has their own idea of a hero due to unique personal knowledge, beliefs, and backgrounds, the broad, universal depiction of a hero is an admired individual who defies obstacles for the well being of others.
Hero portrayals appear in literature and historical studies, personal experience, and through the observations and influence of the surrounding mores. The Odyssey??™s protagonist, various family members and friends, and historical and media figures have created a specific interpretation of hero in my mind, which corresponds with the one described in the quote from The Adventurer. In Homer??™s, The Odyssey, various characters portray heroic actions. Athena, the goddess of wisdom and battle, naturally has a soft spot for the brave and wily Odysseus. She aids and protects him throughout his journey of numerous difficulties. In book five, Poseidon is angered by the God??™s decision to release Odysseus from Calypso??™s island, ???[Poseidon] churned the waves into chaos, whipping gales, shrouding over in thunderheads??¦??? (5. 322), so he ignited a storm in hopes of killing Odysseus in its path.
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Homer writes, ???The rest of the winds she stopped??¦the goddess beat the breakers before Odysseus,??? (5. 421-425), this illustrates Athena saving Odysseus at her own risk of angering Poseidon and other Gods for interrupting their destined path for Odysseus. This is a heroic quality because Athena is putting Odysseus??™ well being before her own. Athena comprises a variety of other heroic attributes; she is confident, practical, clever, a master of disguises, and a great warrior.
Evidently, Odysseus is a well-known classic hero himself. From the first line of the epic, Homer explains that his story is about a ???man of twists and turns??? (1.1). Quick, clever, and calculating, Odysseus contains the stereotypical characteristics of a hero, beginning with his brawny description.
At Alcinous??™ Phaecian games, Demodocus, a blind bard, sings of Odysseus??™ battles in Troy, ???Odysseus fought the grimmest fight he had ever braved but he won through at last,??? (5.582), this shows that Odysseus fought for his country, despite the hardships he faced. After blinding and escaping death from the Cyclops, Polyphemus, Odysseus proclaims his victory, ???Cyclops- if any man on the face of the earth should ask you who blinded you, shamed you so- say Odysseus, raider of cities, he gouged out your eye, Laertes son, who makes his home in Ithaca!??? (9. 558-563).
This demonstrates Odysseus??™ self pride for defeating this monster, which is another stereotypical trait of heroes; man defeating monster to save the day. These examples have proved that characters of the Odyssey reveal heroic behavior. From family members and close friends, I have learned what a realistic hero is. In contrast with Odysseus??™ heroic traits, literally fighting for others, these particular individuals in my life figuratively fight, struggle and sacrifice for well being of their family and others. The prime hero in my life is my mother. She was left a widow at twenty-seven years old with her toddler son and infant daughter, myself, in Bulgaria, an Eastern European, a third world country at the time. She left my brother and I with our grandparents for two years, in which time she was vigorously working over 100 hours a week to raise enough money to move us to America so my brother and I could have a better future. Being the ambitious, independent woman that she is, in 1997, she brought us to America to live in a two bedroom apartment in Glover Park, and upper Georgetown neighborhood in Washington DC, on a 30,000 dollar salary.
Over the past 12 years, she raised two artistically talented, straight A students, putting both through years of prep school, one of which is currently studying to become a Diplomat; In addition, she fostered two boys with unfortunate family backgrounds, and got them well into college after giving them hope and convincing them not to drop out of high school; She became the director of a major research department of the George Washington University Medical School. Currently comfortable economically with a stable life, my mom still fights for the best for my brothers and I, still helps any person in need that comes knocking at her door, and has taught her children respect, the significance and value of each moment in life, and she has made us strong-hearted individuals from her experiences and our own. A woman like my mother is a true hero, one who sacrificed her youthful years by herself for the two babies in her arms so we could have a satisfying future and so we won??™t have to face the struggles she did.
Another hero in my life is my close friend Ian. My uncle hired him as a lifeguard at the summer camp he owns two years ago when Ian was only 17 years old. Within the three months of that summer, Ian saved the lives of five young girls. I remember the face of one of the girls as she laid helpless, purple from air loss, and scared for her life. Even though Ian was scared out of his mind, he didn??™t let this emotion surface; he had to stay strong for me and the girls he saved. From that day, he realized that this was his future, saving the lives of others. He has been a lifeguard ever since and has saved three others from drowning. Ian is a literal hero, one who lives to risk his life to save others??™.
Historical and fictional figures also depict heroes. A painting hanging in my living room depicts five major historical heroes: Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Gandhi. Each of these unique entities demonstrated what they believed in, to advance the rights and respect of the public. This painting honors each for their civil work as they have all passed away but will always be remembered for their service and giving hearts, fighting for social rights and respect of minorities, helping the less fortunate, going to jail or dying to make a subtle statement which then helped the people of the world receive what they were deprived of.
Comparing to my mother being a hero, Amy Tan??™s the Joy Luck Club portrays the same image. The four mothers faced difficult times in China in their youth which shaped their actions later in life. The mothers moved to America to provide a better future for their children. Likewise with my mom, each mother in the story had lessons and values to teach their daughter. Though it took their daughters many years to understand their mothers??™ stories and learn from them, they finally understood and appreciated their mothers??™ actions. Each mother had to sacrifice and make intricate decisions in their own lives, and the lives of their daughters, but all was done to teach their children the greater meaning of life.
The simplest and most stereotypical image of a hero is one with supernatural powers, such as Spiderman, or those in the TV show Heroes. Cartoon superheroes ???save the day??? or fight to defend the one they love. The show Heroes is about people with paranormal abilities, such as healing, who were put on earth for a specific purpose which they must recognize and fulfill. Both instances depict individuals aiding a particular cause.
Though the world is filled with various depictions of heroes ranging from superheroes saving the day, mythological characters, human activists, and citizen protectors, to mothers protecting their own children, each fights either figuratively or literally for the well being of another. The question about these individuals is: what compels one to become a hero