Every past and modern culture over the course of history, has its hero’s. A hero is a person or figure that others look up to and use as forms of protection. Many cherish the hero’s, they make up who we are today. The Anglo-Saxon hero, Beowulf, and the postmodern hero/hero’s, the soldiers, both show the traits of bravery, selflessness, and loyalty.
“That’s what stories are for. Stories are for joining the past to the future ... Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story” (36). The Things They Carried is a captivating novel that gives an inside look at the life of a soldier in the Vietnam War through the personal stories of the author, Tim O’Brien . Having been in the middle of war, O’Brien has personal experiences to back up his opinion about the war. In The Things They Carried, O’Brien reveals his view on war through telling his readers how the Vietnam War had no point, was emotionally devastating, and displaying that there is no purpose in war unless the soldiers know what they are fighting for.
In the epic Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney, Beowulf is depicted as a heroic figure who fights monsters and defends the weak. During its time, Beowulf would be considered a great hero, however in today 's standards Beowulf would only be considered a great warrior. That’s because a hero should value the lives of the people and not seek to be rewarded. Instead, Beowulf committed heroic acts for his own selfish reasons and never shows to values the lives of the people. From fighting Grendel to slaying the dragon, Beowulf only fought because he value the fame and fortune that comes along with those accomplishments.
Imagine being drafted to move thousands of miles away from the life you love to fight a war you hated. This is the unfortunate reality for Tim O’Brien In The Things They Carried. O’Brien explains his experiences of war in Vietnam, what it took to get him there, and his relationships with the other men in his platoon. He portrays guilt and pride through storytelling and intertwines the two by showing how the men often feel guilty for the actions they pursue or decisions they make based on their pride.
The men who served in the Vietnam War were just barely men, some of them were just hitting the age twenty. It was the draft which brought these boys into the fight involuntarily, to fight a war which they saw no meaning in. Many of these boys are the sons of veterans who fought in World War II, that came home to parades and were held up like heroes for fighting. Honorary men of the country and the soldiers fighting for Vietnam did not want to disappoint them. Thus, when O’Brien mentions in the quote, valor was not the point, he is trying to explain to the reader that the men went like it was a job they had to do, not a random act of courage that willed them to proceed. The draft pulled them into it. They did not want to dishonor their fathers, their country and society who told them fighting is honorable. In “The Things They Carried,” it was this ‘dishonor’ that had lead them to enter the war, it was “nothing
Readers, especially those reading historical fiction, always crave to find believable stories and realistic characters. Tim O’Brien gives them this in “The Things They Carried.” Like war, people and their stories are often complex. This novel is a collection stories that include these complex characters and their in depth stories, both of which are essential when telling stories of the Vietnam War. Using techniques common to postmodern writers, literary techniques, and a collection of emotional truths, O’Brien helps readers understand a wide perspective from the war, which ultimately makes the fictional stories he tells more believable.
The theme and his life experience are relatable because his experiences of war is what the theme is telling us readers, that war isn’t a friendly experience and sometimes a lie can better the truth of a war story. Within the article “Voicing Vietnam” it states, “ Tim O’Brien, who two decades earlier was a soldier in Vietnam. His account of what happened — amid the hamlets and forests of the Batangan Peninsula and in other areas of operation — to him and the other members of his platoon is punctuated by rueful, sometimes anguished reflections on the elusiveness of meaning and the fraught relationship between truth and invention.” Throughout the novel, there are different stories for each chapter that are all based upon being at war, however each story that is told are about different results that occur within the soldier's emotional state and also how each cope with their fellow soldier’s death. What O’Brien does to these stories that aren’t real, he continues to do small twists
Writer and lecturer, Joseph Campbell once said; “A hero is someone who has give his or her life to something bigger than oneself”. In addition to this quote, the significance of heroes in this modern society is growing, but these heroes exemplify various traits that are bold and noticeable. In fact, heroes portray simple, yet gallant traits that most things don’t have. Accordingly, today’s inspirations are highly unique, and they deliver ideals of courage and motivation to many.
Though the history of the world the definition of a hero has changed, and the Anglo-Saxon definition vastly differs from modern definition. When the Anglo-Saxons roamed the lands of current day Great Britain, the definition of a hero relates to how well the individual could conquer a group of people. However, in modern day life, a hero brings about change that will benefit society. Comparing and contrasting Beowulf and Martin Luther King junior, the definition of a hero, in their respective times, will show how the sword swinging Anglo-Saxons differ from the very vocal humans of today. Between Beowulf’s and Martin Luther King Jr’s reason for their actions, temperament, and beliefs, the definition of a hero will show the differences between
During the time period Beowulf was written the idea of myths and archetypes were found in almost every piece of literature. There are many types of archetypes that can be found within Beowulf, but the two major archetypes presented are the hero and the outcast. Heroes were often seen as a figure larger than life, one who is in search of self-identity, and often seen to have god on their side. An outcast is a character that is separated from society because of a physical impairment, their actions, or the actions of their ancestors. However, Beowulf is unique because there are characters within the poem that blend from one archetype to another causing the character to constantly change their actions within the poem.
We find in many of the stories that the soldiers mentioned are haunted by the feelings of “guilt and shame”. These feeling seem to make them do irrational and crazy things. In the short story, “The Dentist”, by Tim O’Brien, we find Curt Lemon, taken over by shame for his fear of being seen and treated by the war dentist. Upon his first initial visit to the dentist, he had fainted. To prove to himself and the other soldiers that he is a “real brave man”, he returned to the dentist in the middle of the night and demanded that the dentist remove a tooth, even though he had no problems with his teeth (62-64) Later a story is told of Norman Bowker who hung himself because he could not get over the same feeling of shame that he felt for not having
The Things They Carried contained a collection of stories that were produced by Tim O’Brien to show the life of the American soldiers in the Vietnam War. He used parables to create his characters and utilized the roles of the characters to reflect the real war stories. He described several kinds of materials that soldiers carried in the stories. The emotional loads were the most important ideas that the soldiers should deal with at some points during the war. Tim O’Brien’s characters in The Things They Carried had shared some similarities from the actual war. Several points of views that connected with the real life, such as having a faith during the war periods; trying to walk out of the shadow of war as soon as possible; and the environment
What does it mean to be heroic? People quite often called protagonists heroes even though it’s not often true. A protagonist is always trying to achieve the goal while the antagonist is always trying to stop the protagonist from achieving it. A hero is someone who is selfless, honest, confident, caring, and courageous. Beowulf is a heroic character in the poem. He shows his brave deeds, his strong responsibility in leadership, risking his own life for the greater good for his people, his courageousness and strength for fighting against demons, and lastly, his faith and gratitude. With his courageous heroic personality, Beowulf has always stayed on top of the game throughout the whole poem. Therefore, Anglo-American culture is impacted in a
Many people do not believe heroes still exist, yet they are all around. In all different time periods, people have been searching for a leader. Whether it is an adult, coach, or sibling; the world needs someone to look up to. The Anglo-Saxon epic hero, Beowulf, and the American Soldier, Joseph Beryle, are of examples of heroes that fill the emptiness of those who are lost and seeking leadership. Although Beowulf is a heroic figure that portrays the values of the Anglo-Saxon time, today, American Soldiers like Joseph Beryle still exemplifies the same heroic characteristics; the only difference between them is the time that has passed.
Joseph Campbell, a famous mythologist and writer, was quoted during an interview by Moyers & Company saying, “A hero properly is someone who has given his life to something bigger than himself”(Joseph Campbell). Campbell’s quote describes why heroes throughout history were given their title. In ancient times, Beowulf was a hero because he fought for fame and glory, whereas Tim O’Brien was a hero because he fought for his country. In modern times, Jim Withers is considered to be a hero because of his healthcare work with the homeless. Each of these heroes devoted their lives to a different cause, and in turn made them heroes of their time. It can be concluded that the perception of heroism changed over the course of history.