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Heroes

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a fiction novel written in a juvenile tone because it was written from a child’s perspective. It’s about a family whose father defends a black man accused of rape in a court case and although he fails, the majority of the town acknowledges that what he did was honorable. Bob Ewell, the prosecutor, wins the court case but Atticus, the aforementioned father, is seen as the hero. It’s because the book tries to display that heroes are not those who, with great power and ability, go into conflict with the secure knowledge of future victory. Instead, it’s those individuals who, for a strong, heartfelt belief stand for their ideals and overcome obstacles even with the chance of failure. This is usually portrayed in their courage, selflessness, and determination.

What is courage? A person on the street might say that courage is shown in fantastic act. For example, in an ancient army, a strong paladin might draw his sword and cut through his enemies like paper. Men and women might say he has awesome courage. However, somewhere else a peasant with no combat experience rushes in to battle against bandits in a final stand to save his family. Who has greater courage? A statement Atticus makes in To Kill a Mockingbird expresses this idea. After a mad dog travels through the streets, Atticus shoots it and his children revere him with saying he’s incredibly brave. He explains, “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”

Selflessness is next on the list. Some people might say a hero does not need to be selfless. However, if the ‘her’ just does things for themselves and never sacrifices what they cherish, why would being a hero be so difficult? Let’s say a man goes against many foes to save the land. In the process, many families are lost, including his own. At the end of his adventure he is rewarded with two choices. Bring back the families of those who died, or resurrect his own. Which choice would make him a hero? Or a man might look at a homeless man whom society has given up on. He stretches his hand and offers the man a future at the expense of his own financial security and the weight of others glares of shame. He would become a hero in the eyes of the poor man. Atticus defended the colored man, and defended him well. He did this at risk of the town’s view of him and even his own well being. Doing this showed that doing the right thing mattered more than him.

These characteristics are worthless if one doesn’t have the determination to do them. Determination is what drives us through the fear with courage, and shows us we don’t need what we sacrifice. Atticus, even when all was lost and done for before the court was in session, had the determination to fight for the man with every bit of effort he had.

Every one of these traits may seem spate, yet they work together in such a way that when set in motion, they appear as one. The courage to fight through fear and dread, selflessness to give up yourself for the greater good, and determination to go on when you’ve lost. This makes a hero.





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