Friday, January 25, 2013

Stranger Response

 The Stranger by Albert Camus, presents a strange question to my big question, do the attributes of a hero change over time.  Because Meursault is such an interesting character, the answer to this question is not a direct as the other books I have thought about.  Meursault, by no means, is the type of hero that most think of.  He does not stand up for anything noble by societies standards but he does stand up for something.  This leads me to believe that the attributes of a hero do change over time because of the type of protagonist Meursault is.  Meursault does not feel anything, he does not know right from wrong, and only believes in believing in nothing.  However, his strong belief in his way of life at the end of the novel is why I think he is indeed a hero and why the attributes of a hero do change over time.  Meursault does not save damsels in distress, but he does however, not allow the wishes of others to change himself.  Meursault's mindset is not changed by the lawyer or chaplain who tell him to turn to God as his only salvation, he is strong in his beliefs at the end of the novel, which to me, makes him a hero.  This also means that the attributes of a hero do change over time.  This novel is an existentialist piece.  This literary movement, obviously was not around forever.  But during this period, Meursault is an archetypal existentialist.  Because the times and the world around the novel and characters has changed, so has the attributes in which make a hero a hero.  Camus' novel The Stranger, is evidence that the attributes of a hero do change over time.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Upon finishing Invisible Man, I considered the connections between the book and the attributes of a hero.  I ran into trouble here because there is no true hero in this book.  The narrator is the main character but is defintely not a hero.  He is maybe one of the farthest things from a hero, and in that lies the answer to my question.  The narrator repressents so much that a hero is not, that he paints a picture of what a hero should be.  These traits of taking responsibility, sacrificing yourself for others, and standing up for what is right are not apparent in the narrator's character.  Because this novel was written long after Oedipus Rex and King Henry IV it shows that the attributes of a hero do not change over tme because those attributes are represented by an almost anti-hero.  By being a follower, and allowing others to decide what his identity is, the narrator illustrates one of the most anti-hero sentiments.  Heroes are confident, so times overly, but they do not allow someone else to dictate what thier purpose is.  This fundamental choice to be the hero or not is found in so many stories.  Batman, Superman, Iron Man, Hulk, all make the choice between standing up for others, and putting themself on the line, or letting society choose what they will become.  The narrator in this story never makes his own choice, but simply waits for others to make it for him.  A instance where this is displayed is when the narrator is expelled from the university.  When Bledsoe goes on his rant and expels him, the narrator is fuirious and upset and shows signs that he might rebel and stand up for himseff.  He instead rationalizes the decision and agrees that it is the right choice.  He simply allows for Bledsoe to choose the path on which he will walk.  Another situation where the narrator displays his lack of conviction is when he gets trapped in the manhole.  Sure, there are physical obsracles that are hard to overcome here, but instead of trying to fight his way out and perservere, he accepts his fate and destroys the things that attatch him to the world.  The narrator almost represents the opposite of what a hero is.  Due to this, Ellison paints a picture using negative space to show what a hero should be.  This is why I think that the attributes of a hero do not change over time because of the time period in which Invisible Man takes place. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Response to Big Question Using Henry IV.

Upon finishing Henry IV Part 1, I thought of the characteristics Hal possessed as the hero of the play.  A strange coincidence again, like Hamlet and Oedipus, Hal has daddy issues.  Although not really a personal attribute, this connection between heroes cannot be ignored.  All three's conflicts of self knowledge are based around their fathers.  This tells me that a hero looks up to someone in their life, which most of the time is their father.  An example of this would be Superman.  After he comes to Earth from Krypton, Clark Kent struggles with his identity but finds it once his father reveals himself.  Again, these parallels make me think that the attributes of a hero do not change over time.  A modern hero like Superman shares problems with Oedipus, Hamlet, and Prince Hal from classic tales.  Also, Hal has a hard time letting go of his old life, similar to Oedipus and Hamlet.  All three have an old way of life that must be cast out in order to fulfill their role as a hero.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My big question is, do the attributes of a hero remain the same over time?  This question grabbed my attention because I have always had a fascination with hero based stories.  Superheroes have always been extremely interesting to me and the idea of the hero is fascinating.  My interest in this subject started when I was a little kid watching The Mask of Zorro for the first time.  I was so intrigued and so enveloped in the story that for the next seven Halloweens, I dressed as Zorro.  The idea that a man would put himself in jeopardy for the good of the people struck me powerfully.  From then on I was obsessed with everything hero.  Whether it was Batman, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, these characters sparked my interest in the make up of what it means to be a hero.  Some books that I have read in previous english classes that relate to the subject are The Old Man and the Sea and Hamlet.  Both of these works of literature contribute to the inner workings of a hero.  They both illustrate different qualities that a hero needs in different ways.  A series of movies that really shows the attributes of a hero is The Dark Knight Trilogy.  These modern superhero movies go inside the mind of a man who saves others and demonstrates the attributes apparent in a hero.  A hero in reality that relates to my big question is Louie Zamperini, whose actions on the track and in war are truly heroic.

Response to big question using Oedipus Rex

When I think of the story of Oedipus in relation to the attributes of a hero, it reminds me of all the tragic hero stories I have ever read.  So obviously this makes me think that the attributes of a hero remain the same over time.  Oedipus shares multiple characteristics with other tragic heroes, more specifically, Hamlet.  Both these characters have trouble facing what they have to do.  Hamlet, struggles to actually avenge his father, and Oedipus struggles to face the truth regarding his father's death.  Not only do both characters find it hard to complete the task laid before them, but both involve the death of their father.  So an attribute that seems to transcend time for heroes is a relationship with the hero's father.  Also, the inability at first to complete the task that defines their heroism.