Forgotten, ignored, and unnoticed they walk among us. They act as if they’ve done nothing differently than the crowd, but they aren’t like the mindless souls scuffling through the mechanical world. They want to help, just like us. They want to fix what’s wrong, just like us. They want to make the world a better place, just like us. Only they’re not like us, because they actually act out and do it. These are true heroes. True heroes fight for what’s right, not because they have to, but because they want to.
In Ernest J. Gaine’s A Lesson Before Dying, Grant fails to portray the characteristics of a true hero. When told to help Jefferson, he selfishly refuses to help by telling his family members that, “Jefferson is dead… [And he] can’t raise the dead. [there is] nothing [he can] do anymore, nothing [anyone can] do anymore” (14).
Not only does he rudely disrespect his family’s request, but he also wrongs Jefferson who greatly needs someone to be there for him. Grant simply does not want to help a troubled soul.
Grant does not care about anyone but himself at that time. He says “I don’t feel alive here. I’m not living here. I know we can do better someplace else,” but it’s not someplace else that needs him, it is the people there who need him the most (29).
He doesn’t care about Jefferson. He doesn’t care about Miss Emma. He doesn’t care about anyone, because they don’t please him in the way he wants. Sure he was not happy, but sometimes one has to put happiness aside to help others. In the end he does that, but does that really make him a hero? He is forced to do the right thing. He never wants to actually help. He just wants everyone to get off his back, so he pretends to care. He puts on a nice little show for them, and he gets want he doesn’t realize he is missing, contentment. He is finally satisfied with his life after painfully helping Jefferson, but he never wants to help Jefferson. The whole time he only helps himself feel noble. While helping himself, he accidently helps Jefferson, never because he desires to. In the end, he cannot be called a true hero simply because he never wanted to help anyone but himself.
When it comes to the topic of heroes, many people immediately think of Spiderman, Superman, or Batman. These superheroes are admired for their special abilities that normal people don’t have. They help bring justice to the world. Yet in reality, a hero is a person who is admired for his or her achievements and qualities. Spiderman, Superman, and Batman are superheroes, but it really ...
While Grant was only motivated by self-interest, Jackie Robinson, on the other hand, always wanted to help others. He cared about human rights and was truly, “outraged at injustice, and quick to stand up for his rights”. He didn’t have to be told to break the immoral cycle that humanity shadowed. According to Larry Schwartz, “His instinct wasn’t to turn the other cheek, but to face problems head on” and put a stop to the cruelty occurring everyday between African Americans and whites. He was never told or ordered to fight for his rights as an American citizen. He just did so. Jackie was a true hero. When Grant comes across a problem, he doesn’t want to help or even try to do anything about it. Jackie would never ignore a problem that hurt others. He would always try his best to solve the problem and stop the pain caused by it. That is what makes him a true hero.
In the end, who is the real hero? Certainly, not Grant. If he were here today he wouldn’t even try to stop the injustices of the current world. Most Americans would not and do not. There is wrong around every corner: fur coats on racks and animals being tested on for worthless causes, gays being discriminated against and denied their rights, girls being forced to sell their bodies and beaten if they refuse. There are seven billion people on this planet and infinite problems that still need solving. How can one have the audacity to think they matter more than anyone else? The world needs more people who honestly care about others. The world needs more people to stand up and fight. The world needs more true heroes.
A major problem in understanding World War II is dealing with its ironies. Germans mastered most of the military lessons of World War I, but lost; Anglo-Americans and Russians learned little or nothing from the earlier conflict, but won. Germans hailed Adolf Hitler as the greatest German in history; but had Otto von Bismarck rather than Hitler ruled the Third Reich, there would probably not have ...
Schwartz, Larry. Jackie changed face of sports. ESPN, 2005. Print.
Gaines, Ernest J. A Lesson Before Dying. New York: Vintage Books, 1994. Print