A Hero's Journey

892 Words4 Pages
From Abe Lincoln to Superman, Odysseus to Gandhi, famous heroes have risen out of society in each generation be it in the real world or in literature. The common thread between them all is the journey that they embark on: the hero’s journey. Today, a hero is defined by some heroic act, which illuminates bravery, nobility, or selflessness. A hero behaves in a extraordinary way on behalf of another person or a cause at great risk to themselves. We idolize them because they represent the greatest values we want society to stand for. We fail to acknowledge, however, that every person is on a hero’s journey. The ones who become truly heroic are those people who listen to their soul’s calling and pursue it despite obstacles or fears. A hero fights…show more content…
The meaning behind hero is quite literally larger than life, or beyond the realm of mortality. We choose to idolize real world heroes because we see them as immortal as gods and superheroes. Part of the hero’s journey is a cross from the ordinary world into a “special world” where they can face their enemies or battle death. In a way, this is how we separate ourselves from the heroes by raising them above us and picturing them as perfect. Mahatma Gandhi’s extraordinary behavior, for example, was the ability to fight his battle entirely peacefully. We look at his story, though and imagine he never let himself get caught up in anger or rage. We seem to forget that Gandhi was human and presumably felt anger over his cause. It is nearly impossible he avoided letting that anger get to him at least once, which means he strayed from his peaceful thoughts. He is not perfect. So why do we try to make him seem perfect? Why is that a hero to us? The 1986 Bonnie Tyler song “I Need a Hero” defined a hero as “strong”, “larger than life”, “street-wise Hercules”, and a “good man” or a “God”. The song perfectly envelops the fantasy that is society’s view of heroism. The story of a brave knight sweeping the damsel in distress off her feet is a fictional fairytale, but it is still how we see…show more content…
Gandhi was someone’s neighbor or schoolmate. Clara Barton was someone’s daughter or friend. What sets them apart as heroes is not some godly power, but the drive to follow their calling. I have to believe each person has a purpose. Our souls send us a message about what we are here to do, but only some of us follow it. The rest are held back by obstacles, or choose to ignore the message for fear it will not bring them success. That is where bravery and selflessness step in and prove society right. Heroes have to be selfless and look past their own personal gain towards what they can do for others. We are all one hundred percent capable of becoming a hero, of following through on the hero’s journey. It is not easy, though. Take Jane Goodall, for example, who was an animal rights activist particularly for chimpanzees. One of the largest challenges Goodall faced was redefining precedent set by mostly male scientists before her. They had stated that only humans were capable of the construction and use of tools. She proved that belief wrong through her studies of chimpanzees. Goodall took risks by standing up against long held ideas and stepping out of the box in her chimpanzee research. She fought for the rights of chimpanzees, which makes her selfless. She held her own against opposition to her research, which deems her brave, and she laid herself on the field to be judged and beaten down by people who did not understand
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