A hero? Were expected to write an entire report on a hero? Two actually. Compare and contrast your two chosen people, are they heroes or arent they, blah, blah, blah. Three pages on that? How easy! Definition of a hero: batman, superman, or someone of that stature that has either been in a movie, cartoon series or has gained the privilege of having their face posted on a cereal box and had kids of all ages look up to and idolize them. Well, once I was given the lists to choose from I realized that none of these people fit my idea of what a hero was. I had never seen a movie entitled Mother Teresa The Last Revenge, nor had I recalled browsing through Publix and seeing Cyrano de Bergerac holding his MVP trophy on the Wheaties box I was picking up for breakfast the next morning. I realized that the assignment wasnt going to be so easy as I thought it would.
I was puzzled. Now what was I going to do? I needed to figure out why these people were still known today. Again, how hard could that be? Cyrano de Bergerac, a wonderful masterpiece play including a captivating character. Mother Teresa, someone who helped the poor and dying across the globe. Sounds like two heroes to me, right? But still I was perplexed. There had to be more.
So, Cyrano de Bergerac…hmmm…from my first readings he just sounded like this eccentric fellow with a large schnozzle. Why was he even put on the list of heroes? I decided maybe the techniques learned in class could possibly help me out with my dilemma. I read again. I looked over notes again. I read again. I looked over notes again. I think you catch my drift. And it turns out that this Cyrano guy aint half bad. In all actuality he may be a hero.
Mr. de Bergerac was an eccentric man, and yes he did have quite the olfactory organ, but he was much more complex than that. He displayed honor and courage. Cyrano was incredibly brilliant and knew much on a multitude of topics. He was a brave soldier and talented writer. He lived and loved passionately. Okay, so now your going, yeah right and so is every Joe Shmoe. But hold on theres more.
Cyrano was deeply in love with his cousin Roxane. Im talking the cant eat, cant sleep, every single little detail of every single thing makes you think of her in love. Oh and let me tell you, this wasnt just any girl. This was the epitome of the entire female race, the Marilyn Monroe of the 1600s. However, Roxane wasnt aware of Mr. de Bergeracs feelings because he was too scared to tell her. Why, you might ask? Like most people today, he let the one little (or maybe not so little) flaw he possessed-his nose-run his life. Roxane, unaware of Cyranos love for her, fell in love with the most handsome face of another man, Christian de Neuvillette. Giddy, like a school girl, Roxane tells Cyrano of her feelings for Christian. Cyrano was crushed. His heart was truly broken. Poor Cyrano didnt know what to do. Well, now for the juicy part, Cyrano and Christian decide to team up to win Roxanes love! Oh, I forgot to mention, Christian was not the smartest cookie in the jar. He did not possess the talents that Cyrano did with writing and words. And since Cyrano probably would never win the blue ribbon in a beauty pageant, this seemed to be a great idea. Throughout the entire play, Christian gets to take credit for Cyranos writing and much to my dismay, it doesnt seem to bother Cyrano, as long as Roxane is happy. Well, to speed things up a bit, Roxane and Christian get married and soon preceding the wedding poor old Christian dies. Roxane weeps and weeps and weeps, while Cyrano stands by and has to watch. After the death of what seemed to be her incredible husband Roxane becomes a nun. And whos right there by her side every Saturday at the stroke of the clock? Yep, you got it, Cyrano. Okay, speeding up again, once a week Cyrano visits the lovely at the nunnery and eventually Roxane figures out it was Cyrano all along and oh my gosh, how could this happen? Again Roxane weeps (Rostand 39-195).
I had to give you that brief synopsis so I can now explain why, in my humble opinion, Cyrano de Bergerac is a hero. After Christian dies and through all the visits to Roxane and after all the agony his heart has gone through, Cyrano never tells Roxane that it was he who wrote the letters and he who loved her so deeply and that Christian was a fool and how could she love a fool for so long and not know. I commend him for keeping his mouth shut. Most people couldnt do that. He was loyal to Christian after he passed (Hilgress 44). Can you imagine having the opportunity of telling the person that your heart reaches out to that she loved you all along and then passing it up for the sake of someone else?
Cyrano rose above the call of duty. There was no reason for him to honor Christian. Christian did nothing for him except take Cyranos well-deserved credit. A person that can pass up his own emotions for someone elses is unbelievable. To truly ignore yourself and everything you feel so as to not dishonor another just puts me in awe. Think about it. How many people do you know in society today could actually think of someone else before themselves. I came up with approximately zero. How about you?
Now I was tackling the other half of this paper: Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa was someone I liked right away. How can you not? This adorable, old, wrinkled woman has devoted her life to helping others. She was a strong woman with goals that seemed unreachable to the rest of the world, but were actually accomplished by her. Mother Teresa is the kind of person that should serve as a role model for the youth of today. She is someone that will be read and inquired about in history classes across the world for many, many years to come. My first thoughts were how could she be anything but a hero.
I know your thinking yeah thats great, but what did she do? At a young age, Mother Teresa joined the Loreto nuns where she learned English and became a teacher. One miraculous day in 1946, Mother Teresa heard the call of God telling her to help the poor while living among them (Le Joly 9). This call is probably the most important one Ive ever heard of, dont you think? So, being the determined person that Mother Teresa was, she established what is called the Missonaries for Charity, which is pretty self explanatory (Chawla 87). Soon after, Mother Teresa set up Home for the Dying and that little effort expanded into something huge: the Missionaries for Charity had now spread over 30 countries. In December 1980, Mother Teresa won the Nobel prize for Peace for all the work she had done (Spink 228).
So, now that I knew all of this information I had developed just one inquiry: was the work Mother Teresa had done the hero? or was it the person behind it? I came to find out that it was both. It took the person behind the work to put it all together. Mother Teresa possesses the characteristics of a hero. Not only to me, but to society as a whole.
Not to brag or anything, but I did a pretty good job of picking heroes when I chose these two. The answer is obvious, both are heroes. Although Joseph Campbell (whoever he is) may not agree I think Ive made some pretty valid points on why these people are heroes.
Cyrano a man exemplifying strength, honor, courage, and love went past his own sufferance, therefore, honoring another. And Mother Teresa has gone extensively over the range of normal human behavior by helping those in need. Just hearing those two statements again makes me wonder. Mother Teresa fits Joseph Campbells definition of a hero perfectly, while Cyrano, on the other hand, you have to dig a little deeper to understand his heroism. Its there. Trust me.
Mother Teresa has done all of the things that Joseph Campbell describes. She has done something beyond the normal range of achievement, therefore, giving her life to a cause bigger than herself. She has gone through the struggles to perform a task and sent a positive message to all of society. Not only does Mother Teresa fit Joseph Campbells definition of a hero, she also fits mine.
Because Cyrano is just another character you read about in a book with his individual characteristics and flaws it is harder for the average person to understand why he too is a hero. He does not really fit Mr. Campbells definition of a hero, but after much analysis Ive concluded that he does fit my definition of a hero. Cyrano would do anything for the one that he loved and to be able to look beyond his own personal feelings and emotions, to me, is something that is amazing. How can you ignore yourself? How can you make yourself not listen to anything you feel? Especially just to honor another person. That in itself makes Cyrano de Bergerac a hero.
What is heroism? Truthfully, even after all of this research, it still baffles me. I still do not know. I dont think that it can be based upon one mans beliefs, such as Joseph Campbells. One person cannot set the guidelines for heroism. But who am I to say that because neither can I. I think that heroism is many things and all of those things adapt to fit the so called hero. Does society determine a hero? I dont think so. Because if it does, how can Mother Teresas funeral, a reflection of society, be justified? Heroism is something that can only be determined by the person doing the determining. Everyones ideas of a hero are different and never will they be the same. One thing I can say is that I have learned a lot through all of this. Not necessarily through the research, but by going back and looking things over that one or two extra times, it has made find new aspects of things that I never caught the first time. I think my definition of a hero has definitely grown. I no longer look for heroes on TV or see them on the silver screen, nor do I see a hero hitting a homerun or scoring the winning touchdown. A hero is not the person with the most money or the most intellligent person in the world. To me a hero is a person who is gifted with or aquires the many characteristics that it takes to make up a hero. They may rise above the call of duty, but the person behind the doing also has to exemplify what it is to be a hero. The actions plus the disposition are what truly make up a hero.
Through doing this research, I learned that anything can have its positive side. When this was first assigned I thought, Oh great, another stupid, pointless research paper. But in actuality it really has been a good experience doing this. I know it sounds corny. And Im not going to lie and say that I enjoyed every second of it, but this is the first time Ive gotten to think and allow my opinion to be heard on a topic that is pretty interesting. I got to write how I wanted, put my thoughts on paper and develop them into something that was meaningful to me. And although its late on Sunday night I am enjoying myself and have so in the past two months weve been doing this research.
The only advice I give to others is really try not to procrastinate. Its hard to hear it from me because I sound like the biggest hypocrite, but trust me in the end youll save yourself a lot of unneeded stress. However, I must admit I stressed a lot less about this project than the eight pager we did in January.
I do think that it would have been easier if we would have had to turn in a rough draft. I understand that it was too difficult this time with all of the stuff were trying to cram in these last few weeks, but I think with already having a rough draft I wouldnt feel so much that Im just winging it. Most students probably wouldnt say this, but I do commend you for putting together a project that lets us the students express our opinions in a way that wed like to. And even though I havent gone out of the house ALL WEEKEND at least I learned a little while I was here.
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