A Hero in my Life

Category: Society
Date added
2021/04/28
Pages:  6
Words:  1762
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Heroes are regarded as individuals of the highest order in society, their legacies forever eternalized in the archives of mankind itself. Throughout history, heroes have taken up many forms, from revolutionists to leaders of civil movements to conquerors of entire continents and great inventors, heroes have arisen since the emergence of society as we know it. Yet, with the ever-increasing amount of controversy surrounding the topic of what a hero is and should be, the term hero has become rather loose and the need to define what exactly entitles an individual as a hero has grown increasingly relevant. The purpose of defining heroism helps individuals determine how they should act and interact with those around them. In ancient Greek culture, the term ‘hero’ is a mortal who had done something so extraordinary, so phenomenal, that even after death, they are immortalized in the memories of those around them, and as such, worshipped as gods. It would be easy to assume that heroes are those whom we admire and desire to imitate, yet these are largely based upon our ideals as an individual and does not represent the ideals of others in society. Thus, it can be difficult to accommodate one definition of heroism to the whole of society and who exactly qualifies to be a hero is rather personal and dependent on the individual by which they are assessed. Heroism is not merely fame and financial wealth, but rather the combined traits of selflessness, willingness to stand up against corruption, and perseverance.

Those who desire to make sacrifices not for greatness, but out of pure selflessness are the true heroes of society. This is further exemplified in Suzanne Collin’s, The Hunger Games, when Prim, who is Katniss’s sister is chosen to become a tribute for District 12 during the reaping. In response to this, Katniss desperately volunteers herself as tribute, afterwards remarking, “There’s some confusion on the stage. District 12 hasn’t had a volunteer in decades and the protocol has become rusty. The rule is that once a tribute’s name has been pulled from the ball, another eligible boy, if a boy’s name has been read, or girl, if a girl’s name has been read, can step forward to take his or her place. In some districts, in which winning the reaping is such a great honor, people are eager to risk their lives, the volunteering is complicated (remove to shorten?). But in District 12, where the word tribute is pretty much synonymous with the word corpse, volunteers are all but extinct.” (Collins, 22) Despite this, Katniss willingly volunteered to take the place of her sister, fully knowing the consequences of her decision. While many others shied away from doing so, Katniss displayed selflessness by volunteering herself as tribute. Through risking her own life, she saved the life of her sister, who due to her age would have likely not made it through the games. As we can see, people who are not willing to put the needs of others in front of their own cannot be considered heroes. Even then, only those who are sincerely willing to make the necessary sacrifices out of the goodness of their hearts can truly be regarded as heroes. However, one does not have make sacrifices for their family to be considered a hero. Johnny, from S.E. Hinton’s, The Outsiders, chose to run into a burning church to save children whom he had never known before prior to the fire. At the hospital, Dally asserts, “’They’re still writing editorials about you in the paper. For being a hero and all’[…] ‘Yeah, they’re calling you a hero now and heroizin’ all the greasers. We’re all proud of you buddy.’” (126, Hinton) Before Johnny ran into the church, he was a convicted fugitive on the run. By running into the burning building to rescue the children, he knew that he would risk revealing himself, or even worse, getting killed. However, he made the decision to put the lives of the children in front of his own, and in the end, served the greater good of society. He earned the respect of those around him, especially Dally, who considered him to be a true hero after his act of selflessness. While he did die in the end, his legacy and display of heroism will always be remembered in the hearts of others. In order to thrive, society needs those who are willing to give up everything for the sake of others, those fulfill this necessity are the true heroes, as their actions served the greater good of the society. Ultimately, while there are those who desire to be heroes, only those who are genuinely selfless can achieve the status of being a hero.

When life gets tough, heroes are the people who persevere through, and ultimately fulfill their purpose. One examples of this was the South American revolutionary and political leader Nelson Mandela. He once said that, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” (yourstory.com) Through these words, Mandela expresses the importance of perseverance when faced with a challenge. While others may give up after the first few tries, heroes will keep trying until they succeed. In the end, while others may attribute their success with natural born talent, their achievements were the result of many preceding attempts, failures, and even more attempts. Although he imprisoned numerous times, spending 27 years in prison, Mandela retained his determination to end the segregation in South Africa, becoming South Africa’s first black president and democratically elected president, as well as being awarded the Nobel prize. Through pure determination and unchanging persistence, Nelson Mandela was able to acquire the status of a hero. Nevertheless, heroes don’t have to be revolutionists or great leaders. Stephen King is an author of horror, supernatural, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy books. To this day, his books have sold of 350 million copies. However, before he attained success, he was broke and struggling to get by in life, living with his wife in a trailer. He once stated that, “By the time I was 14…the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and kept on writing.” (themuse.com) Through these words, King explains that heroes can be normal people, just like you and I. They don’t have to fight monstrous beasts or sacrifice their lives to save the world. The difference is that they never give up no matter the circumstances, even if the odds are against their favor. When Stephen King attempted to get his first short story, ‘The Glass Floor’ published, he received 60 rejections before a publisher finally accepted it. Despite numerous failures and dire financial situation, Stephen King never gave up and persevered until he succeeded. Through determination, he was able to achieve his dream of making a living by writing stories. While it may appear that those who achieved success effortlessly rose to prominence, it was through dedication and perseverance by which they became successful.

Sometimes heroes find it necessary to break the rules of society and redefine them for the purpose of upholding the greater good. Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers and 3rd President of the United States wrote in the Declaration of Independence the following, “A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.” (ushistory.org) Through these words, Thomas Jefferson asserts that heroes are the individuals who are willing to rise up and face the evils around them, and, if necessary, break the predefined laws of society. These are the individuals who spark revolution and bring change to the shortcoming society. An example of this occurs during the French Revolution, in which the French people led an up rise and overthrew the monarchy. Prior the revolution, there was a separation between the common man and those in power. However, after the authoritarian government was overthrown, and the creation of new civil rights and abolition of privileges that pertained to the nobles, the revolution brought a new time of equality to the French people. Those individuals who initiated the fight against injustice can be deemed the true heroes in this situation, as without them, evil would have prevailed. However, one needs not to be a great leader nor an influential politician to rebel against injustice. Thomas Paine, political writer, theorist, and activist during the American Revolution once wrote in The Crisis, “He that rebels against reason is a real rebel, but he that in defence of reason rebels against tyranny has a better title to Defender of the Faith, than George the Third.” (ushistory.org) Through these words, Thomas Paine states that it’s one thing to break the rules, but those who do it for the purpose of upholding the good in society are heroes. For the right reason, breaking the law can be considered valiant act, and often heroic. However, those who break the law for all the wrong reasons are merely criminals, and their actions cannot be justified as heroic. This is communicated from a letter Martin Luther King wrote while in jail: “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” (monticello.org) In history, great evils can befall even the greatest of societies; hence, if necessary, heroes must break the laws and redefine them to restore justice to the people of the society.

Heroism is when the world is left a better place when an individual is willing to change society for the better, through demonstrating perseverance and selflessness in their actions. It is not through fame nor is it achieved by political power, but heroism is defined by the actions we choose to execute, in which we display the positive attributes we admire most. Martin Luther King, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson, are all historical figures who hold a special place in our memories – they exhibited heroism. Heroism is largely dependent on the traits and characteristics of those we admire. However, often times we do not follow the precedent they have set for us. In the end, it is up to us to determine our own destinies, and whether or not we choose to take up the role of a hero, it is important to realize the potential we, as individuals, have to improve the world we live in.  

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A Hero In My Life. (2021, Apr 28). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/a-hero-in-my-life/

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