What Is a Hero?
When we hear the word hero, many images come to mind. Many of us see Superman, Spiderman, Batman or any other superheroes flying by and saving a person from robbers or any other form of dangers. These may represent a good definition of what many people believe to be a hero. However, the meaning of the word hero is totally different as will be illustrated.
There are many definitions of a hero. A hero generally, is defined as a man of distinguished abilities or courage, who is admired for noble qualities and brave deeds. A person who is considered a hero by other people has heroic qualities or has performed heroic acts and is regarded as a model or idol CITATION Joe15 l 1033 (Joe Paterno: Hero, Idol or Human, 2015).
A hero may be a legendary figure or a mythological figure of supernatural descent endowed with great strength and abilities. In literature, the hero is mostly the main character in literary work. Hero may also be used in a specialized sense for any celebrated figure because of their great exploits in the ancient Greek legends.
A person is known for feats of courage and nobility of purpose mostly a person who risks or sacrifices their life for others. A good example is the soldiers and nurses who fought in a war. In recent times, these definitions have widened to accommodate people who have come up with innovations such as in the field of medicine, and they are referred to as heroes of medicine.
In “Hard Rock Returns to Prison from the Hospital for the Criminal Insane”, the picture of Hard Rock acts as a form of a hero to the other prison inmates. This makes him fit very well into the definition of a hero. He was the inmates’ hero. This is established early in the poem through the retelling of legends that circulated about him. He was known by the inmates to be a mean person who could not take any word from anybody else and at the end of the poem it is mentioned that the inmates looked up to him as their destroyer and doer of things that they only dreamt of doing. He fights for the rights of everyone else and acquires a legendary status among the inmates CITATION Mar03 l 1033 (Pfeiler, 2003).
The hero I have encountered in my life is Barrack Obama. He was born in the United States during a time when racism was still very prevalent, and he had a dream of becoming the president of the United States. He worked hard and ignored the negative side that would have made him quit. He fought hard and set a good example for other black people and people of other races that may have been discriminated against that even if there seems to be no hope at the time, with hard work, belief and dedication, they may achieve their dreams and goals.
A hero relates to the society by being a source of hope and assistance. They can assist directly by helping the people who may need help in the society, or they can help them get assistance from other people in the society. They can give hope to the society by being a role model. Considering the fact that they set an example by doing something that the members of the society deemed as impossible, the hero will create a new sense of hope and optimism amongst the people since they will start believing that they can do the sameCITATION Joh14 l 1033 (Franklin, 2013).
In my own words, a hero is a person who creates a new sense of hope and optimism to a certain set of people who look up to him as their role model. This may be a leader among the set of people or maybe just a normal person who has done something new or extraordinary. The person acquires the heroic status by doing something that was deemed as impossible by the relevant set of people or may have come up with a totally new approach of doing things. They may also have helped a number of people to get out of a problem or a predicament. In many societies, this is a common way by which people choose or define their heroes.
From many definitions from many different books written by many different authors, the common thing that appears in the definition of heroes is the fact that they are courageous and noble. In the Poem, “Hard Rock Returns to Prison from the Hospital for the Criminal Insane”, Hard Rock is seen as a very courageous person who sets an example to his fellow inmates to be ruthless and stand up for what they believe in. He is even said to have smacked a captain with his dinner tray! He had scars to prove his stubbornness to accept to be changed and at the end, he ends up getting a part of his brain cut out and the rest getting electrocuted.
After he had been damaged in the brain, he lost his meanness. He was brought back handcuffed and chained. When he was cut loose, he was not the same person anymore, and he could not do anything anymore. He just grinned and looked silly. The other inmates were sad to see this, and as mentioned in the poem, they were crushed and turned away with their eyes to the ground. This was a further illustration of how Hard Rock was a hero to them.
In my personal experience, Obama is my hero because he is brave and risked his life in running for the presidency and became the president-elect of the United States. He is also courageous because he took up the job of the presidency during tough economic times and has worked hard to deliver without fear of failure. He is also an inspiration. He came from a very humble background and worked hard to be a better person, and he went on to restore confidence in the American dream and the Constitution of the United States of America.
Barrack Obama also creates hope for the African Americans and other races who may feel discriminated against since his life history serves as an example that against all odds there is hope for a better future. His speeches also serve to support his history as he is eloquent and speaks directly to the people that may view him as a hero because they believe he understands them better because they are of the same backgrounds and may have faced or are facing the same challenges as he did.
BIBLIOGRAPHY l 1033 Franklin J.H. The Train From Hate. 2014. Web. 28 May 2015.
“The Fergus Falls Daily Journal.” Joe Paterno: Hero, Idol, or Human. Web. 28 May 2015.
Pfeiler, Martina. Sounds of Poetry: Contemporary American Performance Poets. Berlin : Gunter Narr Verlag, 2003. Print.