The theme of heroism is one of the most frequent issues, discussed in numerous literary works. Each author tries to present his/her own vision of hero, endow this hero with the best qualities, and make him/her useful to other people. A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas, an American Slave, and Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom are the three works from different times, which help me create my own understanding of the word “hero” and realize that this hero can be found inside of any human being and may be significant to many other people around.
Nowadays, people hear such word as “hero” very often. “You are my hero!” – a girl says to her boyfriend, who’s just saved her from a huge dog. “He is a real hero” – a wife thinks about his husband, who’s just repaired the roof. “This boy will be a real hero” – a grandmother demonstrates her admiration of the boy, who’s just helped her cross the road. To my mind, people just do not pay much attention to a real meaning of this word, fling and use it in accordance with their emotions and feelings.
This is why, in order to remember and understand a true meaning of heroism, it is better to address to literature and find out how professional writers describe real heroes. On the one hand, it is impossible to believe that works by Robert Bolt, Frederick Douglas, and Mitch Albom have something in common. One of them lived in the middle of the 19th century, another is from the 1900s, and the last one is still alive and work in Detroit.
However, on the other hand, all these stories are based on real events, the authors introduce real heroes, who take really important and courageous steps in their lives, and these stories are not about some unbelievable human qualities or world disasters – each of these stories presents ordinary people within ordinary conditions, and explains how their attitudes to life and the desire to be better made them real heroes for many people around.
The main hero from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas , an American Slave got a wonderful chance to comprehend “the pathway from slavery to freedom” at the time, he did not really expected it (Douglas, 39). A real hero should understand the sense of freedom, and it is possible only in case of being enslaved and then getting the cherished freedom.
And in order to achieve this freedom, it is crucially important to control own desires and evaluate the situations from different perspectives, like another hero of selfhood from A Man for All Seasons, Sir Thomas More. The main purpose of More was “do prepare myself for, higher things” (Bolt, 22).
To my mind, these heroes are connected by one purpose – to be ready to do great things and help the others. As for helping other people, this very quality is also inherent Morrie Schwartz from Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie. The teacher demonstrates his unbelievable courage in spite of the fact that he is already aware of his death, and this painful and frustrating process reminds the hero about soon end. He cares about his students, tries to teach them the best qualities, in order to provide them with a chance to improve their own lives and their attitude to this world.
“Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live” (Albom, 104). In this case, the meaning of the word dying may be interpreted in different ways and compared to the ideas of other heroes under consideration: if you were not enslaved, you could not appreciate freedom; if you could not comprehend own desires, you could not explain them to the others; if you did not die, you could not enjoy this life and live.
In general, these three characters have one feature in common – they want to be ready to take great steps in order to help other people to achieve success, and, at the same time, not to forget about personal self-improvement even being bound by unfair realities of this world.
Albom, Mitch. Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson. Broadway, 2002.
Bolt, Robert. A Man for All Seasons: A Play of Sir Thomas More. Oxford: Heinemann Educational Publishers, 1996.
Douglas, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas, an American Slave. United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.