A New Kind of Hero-From Batman to Dexter

The OED defines a hero as:

“A man who exhibits extraordinary bravery, firmness, fortitude, or greatness of soul, in any course of action, or in connection with any pursuit, work, or enterprise; a man admired and venerated for his achievements and noble qualities” (“hero” OED).

This definition is pretty accurate when it comes to superheroes. Throughout my blog I have evidently tried to show that there really is no “true” definition of a hero, as there are many different types of traits and roles that qualify people and characters to be labelled as such. However, one thing most can agree on is that heroes do good. The stop evil and bad things from happening, or they do something to make us feel a little better about our world. What happens when that gets twisted? What happens when heroes make us question our morals, and where do we draw the line between right and wrong?

Let’s start with Batman. I love the films, but I’ve never been a huge comic book fan-so bear with me. In the comic The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, Batman returns in order to protect Gotham City from a new type of villain called “mutants”. The regulars are back, Harvey Dent, James Gordon, and a new younger female Robin. My focus here is not so much on the plot of the book, but the role of Batman as a hero. Wonderfully enough, there seems to exist many parallels between the comic previously mentioned and the latest Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises. For the sake of the media element of this entry, I used a promo from this movie to depict the story line.

frank miller batman

Batman commits crime in order to stop crime, however, there is a sense of vengeance in his role. I always felt that Batman was fighting these villains for himself too (once again, keep in mind I’m going off of simply the films here). On top of this, he leads a double life as Bruce Wayne, the rich business man who inherited Wayne Enterprises after the death of his parents. He comes off as an arrogant jerk most of the time in his Bruce Wayne role and there is little sense of anything heroic about that man. Whether that is the point is beyond me, however as Batman one still gets the sense that Batman is above the law. This leads back to my question before-where do you draw the line between right and wrong? Is it okay for Batman (because he has the necessary abilities) to move above and beyond the law in order to do good, or does this create its own set of problems? Superman seems to think so. In The Dark Knight Returns he warns Batman that he should remain more of a “legend” than an actual acting personage. I would agree that the legend of Batman stands able to create a sense of peace, however that seems nearly impossible for Batman “the person”. This makes me question why Batman really desires to rescue Gotham City from its enemies. Does he live to be idolized-to be remembered and be “legendary”? As Professor Humphreys mentioned in class, Miller seems to think the true villain is the media in his comic. I would tend to agree with Mr. Miller, especially when you look at the time he was writing about (Ragan, The Cold War, etc.). How is Batman to defeat that by leading a double life as a millionaire benefiting from the media? The character of Batman really just leads me to ask a lot of questions-which leads me to my next topic.

The idea of “doing evil to stop evil” is continually represented in modern film and television.  My favourite example of this is Dexter. Dexter Morgan is a serial killer of serial killers, following a strict code set down by his adoptive father Harry Morgan. Along with his sister Deb, he works for the Miami Metro Police Department as a blood spatter analyst. It is here that Dexter gains access to the files of serial killers that have either been over looked or are unable to be caught. Dexter is in no denial about why he kills. He refers to the desire inside him as his “dark passenger”, who needs to kill in order to properly function. The code however makes it so he only kills those who deserve to be killed. In order to kill them, he has to prove that they have killed and will again, and also needs to do so in a way that he will never be caught (he dumps bodies off of his boat). What I love about this show is that it constantly forces me to question my own moral code. You find yourself not only cheering for Dexter, but becoming angry when the law interferes with his code. Does this make me a bad person? Sometimes I wonder, but all I can think is that “Dexter is doing good! He’s eliminating the world of vermin and people who hurt other people! This is good!”-but is it? Dexter admits that his need to kill is satiated by killing these people, and because no one will miss most of them, he often avoids being caught by authorities. Dexter IS a serial killer himself, but can he still be a hero? He saves hundreds of lives by disposing of bad people, and doesn’t kill anyone that is good. He is brave as he risks his freedom to do this, he is strong and the definition about does say “in any course of action”…

What makes us become enchanted with these characters? I ask myself this often as I’m watching a film or movie. I see them as heroes personally, and the OED defines them as such, so what’s the problem? This is also a question to be answered personally, but I think I understand. These characters do things that we cannot imagine ourselves doing. Deep down, we want to see justice served, and despite the fact we as a society may have to readjust our moral code in order to watch it happen is beyond the fact. We also need to remember this is fiction. Any interference in the law in the real world would turn out in a massive manhunt to put down whoever dare assault the system.

Dexter the Angel?

This new genre of heroes is an interesting one to say the least. Frank Miller’s “Batman” has been around for a long time and is by no means new, but the ideas that started in Batman (and before him, an example being the story of Robin Hood) are becoming more and more common. Asking ourselves what is good and what is evil makes sense in the current world we live in, and with that comes the action of questioning who our heroes truly are. According to the OED, the spectrum is broad, as are our own personal definitions.

Works Cited

“Hero” OED Online. OED Online: Oxford University Press, 1, December, 2012. http://www.oed.com.cat1.lib.trentu.ca:8080/view/Entry/86297?rskey=UXZ4yK&result=1&isAdvanced=false

Humphreys, Sara. Lecture. November 2012.

Miller, Frank. The Dark Knight Returns. New York: DC Comics, 1986.

The Dark Knight Rises.Dir. Christopher Nolan. Perf. Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway and Michael Caine. Warner Brothers Pictures, 2012. Film.

Dexter. Writ. Jeff Lindsay and James Manos Jr. Dir. Steve Shill. Showtime Networks, 2006-2012.

I’m reblogging this because it reflects my last blog about real life heroes and the sentimentality surrounding them. It shows the way in which modern society gets involved in the lives of others (in this case fictional characters) and how media appeals to that. Jess-this is awesome. So many “feels” for this show.

The Fan Culture Phenomena

Fandom is primarily based upon emotion and fandom ships Barney and Robin together on the series HIMYM. These are characters who previously dated on season five of HIMYM but are not currently together on the show. People who belong to the HIMYM fandom have a huge emotional investment in the television series and its characters. The speech genres used on Tumblr (a platform form blogging) shift constantly between public and private. The people who are involved in the fandom of Barney and Robin are all narrators as Mieke Bal says that, “As soon as there is language, there is a speaker who utters it; as soon as those linguistic utterances constitute a narrative text there is a narrator, a narrating subject.” (Bal 119-20) The fandom narrates its own story for Barney and Robin, with its own sign systems. To be apart of the Barney and Robin fandom you must understand the…

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Real Life Heroes-What Makes a Hero?

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a biographical piece documenting the life of a woman who had no intention of leaving this world any different then she came in to it. She does not know her cells are being taken for research and she definitely doesn’t know how special her cells are. Her family does not reap the financial benefits that come from the strides forward medicine makes thanks to her cells, and in fact her descendants can barely afford health care. However-Henrietta is a hero. But what makes her one?

Henrietta_Lacks_(1920-1951)

I knew I wanted to write about Lacks when I was designing this blog, but I wasn’t sure how to fit her in. I’ve decided, inspired by the story of Henrietta, to analyze the portrayal of “real life heroes” in modern culture. This blog won’t focus on necessarily the evolution of this hero type, but more on the fascination that the modern world has with the real life hero. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, CNN’s Hero of the Year, endless people showcased and rewarded on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, as well as films made to celebrate real life heroes (Erin Brockovich, Schindler’s List, Hotel Rwanda, etc.) are just some examples of the modern celebration of real life heroes. Why do we love this so much? Is it because we want to know that there are still good people in the world? And what is it about people doing good things that make them heroes?

In his article “The Creation of Popular Heroes”, Orrin E. Klapp looks at the “ideal hero” as being greater than just a person, but as an “ideal image, a legend, a symbol” (Klapp 135). He goes on to discuss the personality traits that make a hero and determines, as I can only help but agree with, that what makes a hero an individual is not important (Klapp 138). That is to say, that whether they are kind, giving or brave as a human being is not vital to their creation as a hero. Klapp believes that it is ROLES that make a hero, and personal traits are “subordinate” to those traits (Klapp 138).

After reading this article, a lot of the fleeting thoughts I was having myself were made sense of. While trying to look at the definition of a hero, I found myself listing things such as “brave, leader, strong, etc.” but then I would think of someone like Henrietta Lacks and find myself unable to use the same words to describe her. I then realized that her cells were really the hero of science, taken without her consent, and what makes HER the hero comes after you know about all her cells did for science. Because her cells were taken, someone took interest in her life as whole, her life before cancer, and the many things she dealt with and the choices she made are what give her the hero-complex. Specifically, she raised a mentally challenged daughter in a time that mental disabilities were not understood. That takes bravery, that takes kindness, as well as a long list of other descriptive words. On top of this, it is her legacy that defines her as a hero. She lived, she died and she did not know her life would be remembered (she’s even buried in an unmarked grave), but she is. The day her cells were obtained was the day that science was giving her a hero-complex, though no one knew it.

So this leads to my analysis of our modern day celebration of heroes. Obviously heroes have always been celebrated, but in more recent years, there seems to be an over abundance of hero celebrations. Are there simply more heroes? Does technology allow more and more stories to be shared to the masses that before would have been known by few? I think both of those things are true, but I also think that the sentimentality of celebrating heroes has something to do with it. I’m thinking particularly of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. This is an entire episode of the show, watch the whole thing if you choose-however the first 10 minutes showcases the family’s story. In the case of this episode, Maria Ruiz is also a CNN Hero Honouree:

Maria Ruiz is really a phenomenal woman. Her and her husband are selfless, compassionate and driven. This is just one example of the many wonderful people who are honoured on this show. For the sake of my hero argument, I’m not going to get into the whole idea that the show is based around-building houses for struggling families who can’t afford to pay for them after they have them-but I am aware of the complications behind this. However, what I do want to critique about the show and the modern portrayal of real life heroes is the sentimentality that is used in order to gain viewership. The “surprise” arrival of the designers, the surprise vacation and all of the other things that are done throughout the show to make the viewer sob like a small child. Modern media doesn’t let a story stand on its own. In this way, I guess there does exist some sort of “evolution” of the real life hero, being the way in which their stories are portrayed. Sharing a story to inspire is one thing, however playing it out to make money and gain viewers is another thing.* But this is the society we live in.

Henrietta Lacks is a hero, as is Maria Ruiz, and probably a billion other people out there doing things that create their legend and make others look at their lives differently. Is this a bad thing? Does it take away from the idea of the hero? I don’t think it does. I know I personally would like to live in a world full of people like Henrietta Lacks.

If you’re interested in the lives of other “real life heroes”, I found this website which is dedicated to celebrating heroes from all over the world.

To finish off this entry, here is a clip from The Ellen DeGeneres Show that showcases all of the giving Ellen has done over the past ten years of her show. Is Ellen making herself a hero, has her audience created her as a hero, or is she just celebrating heroes?

Works Cited

“The Ruiz Family”. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Writ. Pam Suchman. Dir. Glen GT Tyler. ABC, 2009.

Klapp, Orrin E. “The Creation of Popular Heroes” American Journal of Sociology 54.2 (1948): 135-41.

Skloot, Rebecca. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. New York: Crown Publishers, 2010.

The Ellen Degeneres Show. Warner Bros Television, 2012.

*I realize that in many cases, viewership is rising is what funds the ability for such shows to exist and helps pay for the houses that are being built. However, I understand this for shows like Ellen where she gives people the ability to use money to help them (often sponsored by grocery stores or just plain cash) or cars that are paid for. Extreme Makeover does not make much sense to me from a truly “helping” point of view and that is why I have critiqued the extreme sentimentality they appeal to.

Harriet Jacobs and The African American Heroic Voice

Before this course, I knew about Frederick Douglass and had done some research on him for a course in my first year. His name and writings are far more known for many reasons, and his place in history is an important one. On the other hand, I had never heard of Harriet Jacobs. As I read her narrative, this upset me more and more. I feel like the only woman I knew about as a slave is Harriet Tubman and the only understanding I had of a woman’s life as a slave came from the novel “The Book of Negroes” by Lawrence Hill. In their article “Famous Americans: The Changing Pantheon of American Heroes,” Sam Wineburg and Chauncey Monte-Sano describe a study where American high school students are asked to list five famous Americans, besides presidents and their wives. Interestingly enough, 3 of the most popular people were African American figures including Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks (Wineburg and Monte-Santo 1186-91). I would agree that these are extremely important people and deserve fame, but where would Jacobs stand in these stats if people knew about her?

There is something different about the voice Harriet Jacobs speaks in throughout her narrative that impacted me.She had the guts to publish a story, as a woman, that speaks to her experiences from her own perspective. Despite the fact that she is evidently attempting to appeal to a specific audience, the purpose behind doing so means something. She is condemning slavery by being brave enough to share her own hardships with the hope that other women will understand this and perhaps see everything in a new light. Would it have been easier to hide behind a false name, or for that matter, a male name, in order to get published? More than likely. Yes, she received help in the process, but something about the fact that she didn’t abandon who she was along the way speaks to me. There is something so strong and courageous about Harriet Jacobs character that stands alone from other examples of “The African American Heroic Voice”, which doesn’t by any means take away from the importance and value of those stories.

While reading Jacobs narrative, I kept thinking about the book (and film) “The Help”. For those who haven’t read or seen the film, it documents the story of a young privileged White woman named Skeeter who realizes the wrongs committed against the Black “help” in her small Southern town, and sets out to write a book documenting their experiences as paid help, as well as their own personal histories. The book is written by a White woman who was in a similar situation to the young aspiring writer she creates in her novel. She grew up with African American “help” and became extremely attached to the woman who helped raise her. I researched the idea of this, and found an article called “Cinethetic Racism: White Redemption and Black Stereotypes in ‘Magical Negro’ Films” which discusses the idea of films that celebrate underprivileged Black women turning “broken” white women into upstanding citizens (Hughey 543). This idea has “The Help” written all over it. Skeeter is raised by the family’s African American maid who teaches her to be good and be herself despite her crazy mother trying to force her to be like the rest of the Southern bells. In this clip, Aibileen, one of “the help”, has a moment with the daughter of her employer whom she is basically raising, trying to make her feel the love that she is not receiving from her own mother.

The film is heartwarming at times and leaves you a blubbering mess throughout, cheering for the women to be treated fairly, however something doesn’t sit right with me. I realized this is a modern example of the slave narrative and a depiction of heroic African American women, but it is written completely in a White voice. There is no way that the author can understand the lives the characters in her novel led, or the hardships they went through. And so something is lost for me. On the surface, it can be seen as wonderful that a White woman would stand up and try to liberate the African American women around her-but to what end? Skeeter publishes the book and gets exactly what she wanted-revenge against her friends and neighbours who don’t understand her, as well as the success of her first published book. In the end, she wins. You’re left wondering what the women she “helped” really got out of it. Some lost their jobs, yes they got their pride back, but what does it all change? The audience reading this book is going to see Skeeter’s face all over it, and not the identities of the women who’s stories she is telling.

After reading these articles and thinking again about “The Help” I understand the importance of Jacobs narrative and defining her as a hero. She speaks to her experiences that only she can understand and speaks on behalf of those only she can understand. Yes, she is attempting to appeal to a White audience, but she is not letting a White audience speak for her. Her bravery to speak the truth and go through the hardships in order to tell it the way she wants to is what makes her a hero for me. I really hope I can find a different modern example of “The African American Heroic Voice” that can hold its own to Jacobs. Until then, I can see “The Help” through an understanding lens that will allow me to appreciate it from the perspective of women helping women maintain their pride.

Works Cited

Hughey, Matthew W. “Cinethetic Racism: White Redemption and Black Stereotypes in ‘Magical Negro’ Films”,   Social Problems 56.3 (2009): 543-77.

Wineburg, Sam and Monte-Sano, Chauncey. “Famous Americans: The Changing Pantheon of American Heroes” Journal of American History 94.4 (2008): 1186-1202.

Jacobs, Harriet. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. New York: The Modern Library, 2000.

The Help. Dir. Tate Taylor. Perf. Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain. Dream Works, 2011. Film.

Ma Joad “The Hero”

What seems to be becoming more and more popular is the idea of the “less important” character rising up and becoming the hero or heroine of the story. As well, the hidden hero, or the idea of a supporting character being more heroic than the story makes them out to be, is something that also interests me. In this case, looking at Ma Joad, I would argue that she is a hero in “The Grapes of Wrath”. I don’t feel like this is an immediate connection one makes when reading “The Grapes of Wrath”, however in several instances throughout the novel, she not only stands up for herself and what she thinks is right, but does so in a way that you realize her importance in the family dynamic. I would argue that without Ma Joad, the family would fall apart entirely. This is seen from the beginning when Tom arrives home and Ma questions his sanity. It doesn’t appear to come from a place of paranoia, but genuine desire to protect what is hers and to decide what is best for the family’s well being. I think if Tom was insane, she would find someway to help him, but she wouldn’t have let him near the rest of the family if it was a risk.

Despite the desire to dismiss Ma Joad as “just” a motherly character and one that is simply there to be a caregiver, there is far more to her character than that. She will do anything and everything to keep her family protected, and goes against family hierarchy to do so. She salts the meat for the trip without missing a beat, despite it being a “man’s” job as Casey points out. In Chapter 13, in response to being asked if she is scared, she replies “I’m just settin’ here waitin’. When somepin happens that I got to do somepin-I’ll do that” (Steinbeck 124). This can be interpreted as being Ma Joad “knowing her place” in the family dynamic, but I see it differently. She is showing her willingness to help her family survive. It’s not about being a woman, or a mother-it’s about being someone who will do anything to ensure the livelihood of those she loves. Her stubbornness to keep the family together throughout the novel isn’t about being a controlling mother-it’s about ensuring everyone’s safety and well being.

Ma Joad is a caregiver, she is a mother and she is a woman, but these are the qualities that makes her a hero in her own way. Maybe she doesn’t “save the day” in the obvious ways, but without her those who do would not be able to.

Because I like to take things as far as I can, I would like to argue that the evolution of this character type can be seen in the character of Cam from “Modern Family”. To begin with, in the relationship dynamic of Cam and Mitchell, Cam takes on more of the “motherly” role with their daughter Lily. He will literally do anything for this little girl, however nonsensical it may be. In this clip from the series, Mitchell puts the car keys in the diaper bag and Lily gets locked in the car.

However, Cam’s heroic caregiver role extends past Lily and into his relationship with Mitchell’s family. He is constantly doing things that bring the family together (sometimes against their will) and attempting to bring everyone happiness. This sometimes ends up being a little “too much” but his intentions are similar to that of Ma Joad’s-he will do anything and everything to keep this family together. Yes, they are well off and not travelling from Oklahoma to California to try and survive, but they deal with every issue that the “modern family” deals with, including remarriages, homosexuality, children growing up and making mistakes, as well as endless other issues. It is Cam throughout all of these things that continues to put other’s happiness before his own in many ways, including trying to build a relationship with Mitchell’s not so affectionate father and his judgemental sister Clare. This clip is a scene from earlier in the series where Mitchell tries to explain, despite his dismay, that Cam is more “mom-er”.

This hero type is one of my favourites. They are often overlooked and out shined by the main idea of the story, however without them the rest of the characters would be lost. Whether or not they are recognized as being vital and important in the lives of those around them, I feel no tale of heroism would be the same without them.

Works Cited

Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath. New York: Penguin Books, 1939.

Modern Family. Writ. Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd. Dir. Michael Spiller. 20th Century Fox Television, 2009-12.

The Cowboy: From “The Virginian” to Modern Portrayals

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There he is: “The Virginian” in all of his glory. He represents the type of hero that knows his purpose and knows how to get what he wants. The Western hero roles with the punches, portraying himself as calm, cool and collected whether or not things are not going according to plan. To most, he remains fearless in all cases, however there is always the exceptional human being who has the ability to get under his skin and see a different side of the cowboy.

The Virginian is one of the first examples of this hero type. He enters the novel with a flare that immediately stands out to the reader. This is seen simply in his appearance and charismatic nature towards his Uncle. However, upon meeting the narrator his demeanour changes and he becomes intimidating and closed off. This can be interpreted as a way of creating the hero complex. The Western hero does not attempt to appeal to the reader or viewer by means of affection. He is a hard character-you know he has been through and seen things that have made him who he is. It is this demeanour that makes you respect him, and through the narrators telling, fear him at the same time. You would feel protected in his presence even if you do not feel welcome around him. With that being said, when you earn his respect, you will never have a more loyal friend.

The idea that The Virginian as a hero is very much based around the assumption that he is capable of anything. He handles everything as it should be rightfully handled, and obeys the natural law of “survival of the fittest” (Humphreys, Lecture).

What has interested me in this hero type the most is how it has evolved into many of the modern hero types  in popular media. Two of my favourite televisions shows are Firefly and Supernatural. As soon as I made the connection between “the western hero” and the two main characters in these series, I could not help but enjoy “The Virginian” a little bit more.

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Mal, AKA Malcolm Reynolds, is what I would like to imagine as a modern day cowboy. His main objective is to protect those on his ship, providing for them and keeping them out of harms way. However, this is made far more complicated by the fact that the crew transports illegal cargo as a means of living. Mal decides what is best for everyone, and despite the trouble they often get into, he always seems to know the way in which everything will work out. He refuses to associate with anyone he does not trust, and when he has to do business with those he does not trust, he does so with caution. Even though he has lost so much, Mal believes in people and what they are capable of. What makes Mal a hero is his ability to conduct himself in a way that conveys both trust and fear, as well as the way he controls almost every situation in order for everything to work out according to plan. If you are a friend of Mal’s, you are cared for.

In this clip from the episode “Safe” is not only one of my favourite moments in the series, but displays Mal in hero-action, stepping in just in the knick of time to save River and Simon. Of course in Mal fashion, he makes a show of this, however the fact remains that River is a part of his crew and therefore he feels obligated to protect her.

Dean Winchester from Supernatural is an angry man with purpose. He has the drive to push forward that can be seen in The Virginian and Mal, but the difference is the driving force behind his desire to help people. Despite being constantly proven wrong again and again, he (like Mal) still holds hope in the human race. He patrols America like the duty to protect its inhabitants from the supernatural is his birth right. This sense of entitlement makes him a force to reckon with, as he puts others before himself, leading to his impending psychological doom. While Dean is very different from The Virginian in many ways, he still embodies the classic sense of the Western hero by means of loyalty and his intimidating air. You do not mess with Dean Winchester, but more importantly you do not mess with his friends (or his car). Like Mal, if you are worthy of Dean’s trust, you are taken care of.

In a recent episode, Castiel says to Dean “You can’t save everyone my friend, though you try” (Supernatural S8, E7). This immediately resonated with me and I had to comment on it in this blog entry. The fact of the matter is that Dean is trying to save everyone. He sees everything else as failure and cannot accept the fact that not everything is going to go the way he sees. It is his seeming confidence in himself that makes him out to be a hero. For more information about Supernatural, including funny bits and epic moments, see this blog!

Overall, the concept of the “western hero” has made its way through time to embody itself in many of the characters we encounter today. Mal and Dean are just two of the many that resonate with me, but the modern day “cowboy” is everywhere you look. For more information on “the cowboy”, check out History.com’s section on cowboys.

Works Cited

Humphreys, Sara.  American Literature Literary Periods.  Trent University, Oshawa.  2012 October.  Lecture.

“Safe.” Firefly. Writ. Joss Whedon and Drew Z. Greenberg. Dir. Michael Grossman. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2002.

“A Little Slice of Kevin.” Supernatural. Writ. Erik Kripke, Eugene Ross-Lerning and Brad Buckner. Dir. Charles Robert Carner. Warner Bros Television, 2012.

The Evolution of the Hero

What I have become more and more aware of so far this semester while taking “American Literature-Literary Periods” has been how important the role of “the hero” is, not only in literature from the past, but also in modern American culture and media. Whereas the hero  in literature from the past is far more defined, the modern day hero is a little more vague. The hero that is now portrayed to us, characters like Dexter or Mal from Firefly, are far more complex and multidimensional. This makes analyzing and understanding what it is that makes these characters “heroes” complicated and causes one to question their own values and morals.

This blog will serve the purpose of analyzing and comparing heroes from our past found in the literature I am examining in “American Literature-Literary Periods” to the heroes of the media and culture we encounter today. The works I will use include “The Virginian” by Owen Wister, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl”  by Harriet Jacobs, “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” by Frank Miller and “Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck. I will analyze the role of “the hero” in each of these pieces and the importance of their literary “type” in the evolution of “the hero” in media.

In my first year of university, I wrote a paper analyzing Hector and Achilles in “The Iliad” by Homer as heroes. I looked at Achilles as being a classic hero-strong, brave and ruthless. Hector on the other hand, appealed to the reader. He pulled at heart strings, and although he is brave and strong, he acts on passion and the desire to protect his city and family. These are qualities that most human beings can relate to-but do these qualities make Hector more or less of a hero than Achilles? I would argue that there really is no correct answer, but they are two hero types that act together to balance each other out as characters.

On that note, I am excited to analyze similar character issues and hero types in the novels I plan to explore through this blog, as well as analyzing the hero types that have evolved from those works.

 

Works Cited

“Troy.” Dir. Wolfgang Petersen. Perf. Brad Pitt and Eric Bana. Warner Brothers Pictures, 2004.