|Stories - Part Five: Relationships and Communication
What makes a hero? It can be the person who is in the right place at the right time and makes the right choice. It can be a person who wants to be a hero and takes on a job that offers the opportunity (policeman, soldier, doctor, etc.) but it might be involuntary. A person caught up in a situation that offers no choice, and what they do by chance is seen as a heroic action. There are even cases of people mistakenly believed to be heroes and have acted out the part then tried to live up to it (Mickey Mouse in 'The Little Tailor' kills seven flies with one swat. His boast is misinterpreted and he is sent to kill a giant).
There are many true stories of people pretending to be heroes when they were not. There are also stories of modest heroes who are only revealed as such by chance. Popeye is a reluctant hero in that he will always go to someone's aid despite any danger to himself. Mickey Mouse is also a modest hero, on the other hand, Tom, of 'Tom and Jerry' is an obvious coward, and has no qualms about showing it.
Though Sherlock Holmes is not afraid of danger, he does not invite it, whereas James Bond does; yet we do not think of James Bond as being particularly heroic. This is because we feel that it is part of his work, and not a heroic act that would normally scare him, and require his overcoming his fear.
The ultimate hero is David with Goliath, where the little guy takes on the big guy and wins. There has to be a factor of uncertainty, and one in which the hero stands to lose a lot. Though super-heroes like Batman, Superman and their kind will take on anyone, we always know the outcome before it starts. When the little guy (or girl) is suddenly faced with a problem that seems insuperable, and decides to go ahead and tackle it, then we give them our full support, and wished that we had that sort of courage.
In a way, Cinderella was a heroine in going to the ball in spite of her stepmother's attitude towards her. Had she been found out (as she would have been if she had not run out of the Ballroom on the stroke of midnight), then who knows what fate she may have suffered. Red Riding Hood was brave to talk to the wolf, though that may have been in ignorance of the situation.
Being heroic is not just facing physical danger; it can also be public ostracism. How many ordinary people have stood up to the authorities and publicly stated that they do not do their job properly. They do so in the knowledge that it could cost them their job or have them persecuted in some way. Standing up to the school bully is one thing, but reporting them can be just as dangerous.
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