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Heroism Essay, Research Paper


The word hero has different specific meanings to different people, but there is a basic definition that most people would probably agree on. A hero is someone that works for the benefit of others and not personal gain. This working for the benefit of others is generally done in some sort of a challenging way. If there is no challenge involved the person may be very well liked, but he isn t doing anything really amazing.

Atticus Finch, of To Kill a Mockingbird, was an extremely heroic character. The main heroic thing he did was taking on the case of Tom Robinson. Tom was a black man in a place and period of overpowering prejudice against blacks. Since a white person accused this black man of rape, the odds were totally against him. It was almost pointless to even hold the trial because of the inevitable outcome. Despite having this knowledge and the knowledge that people wouldn t approve of his actions, Atticus did what he knew was the right and honest thing to do. Throughout the ordeal Atticus was called numerous names and even threatened, but he was always remained a gentleman while sticking to his belief that everyone deserves a fair trial. Atticus is a hero to anyone that believes in standing up for what s fair.

Another type of hero is also a character in To Kill a Mockingbird, his name is Arthur (Boo) Radley. Boo is a total recluse and a town myth. He is a supposed crazy person or some sort of monster. Boo finds his chance to be a hero when Bob Ewell attacks Scout and Jem. Given the fact that Boo is obviously shy to the point of complete social withdrawal, his actions can be noted as heroic. Boo stabbed the children s attacker and carried an unconscious Jem home to safety. Boo ventured out into a world he knew thought him to be a monster, to save the children he cared for. He put his personal well being on the line to ensure the safety of a couple of children he hardly knew.

Black Elk, the main character, from Across the Big Water, is yet another example of a hero. He left his home and his people to go on a journey with white men, the men that were causing his people so much suffering. Black Elk hoped that he would be able to discover some of the white men s secrets, and thus be able to help his people. Unfortunately he was not able to discover any secrets, or help his people. However, the mere fact that he was willing to go to such an extreme to make a difference in so many people s lives qualifies him to be titled a hero.

There are countless heroes in the world. Some may be famous, but many can be found in our everyday lives. Anyone can become a hero when they are faced with a challenge that involves helping others. The world would be such a better place if more people would act in a heroic manner. People should start realizing that we all have the potential to be compassionate, even when the situation is testing.

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