Heroes and Heroines

The Making of a Hero

Heroes by Gender

Introduction

In this post my intentions are to give a brief history of heroes in Greek mythology, and to briefly highlight the traditional views of heroes and heroines. The material will  also present a different way of viewing heroine, as seen through the eyes of the author Jane Austen, whom I believe has an interesting perspective on the changing heroine.

Brief History

According to Greek Mythology, the age in which the heroes lived is known as the heroic age.  After the rise of the hero cult, gods and heroes constitute the sacral sphere and are invoked together in oaths and prayers which are addressed to them. During the heroic age, the roster of heroes is never given fixed and final form; great gods are no longer born, but new heroes can always be raised up from the army of the dead. The hero then becomes the centre of local group identity. 

The genesis of heroes from Greek mythology to early and modern forms of literature still portray male as the dominant heroic-figures. They are depicted as the center of identity in many forms of literary work. While strides are being made to promote women in traditional heroic roles, there is still a lag. Men are always seen as heroes while the women are listed as “notables” or the “damsel in distress” waiting to be saved.

In Fantasy and Fairy tale literature, the hero is celebrated for his act of bravery and his demonstration of power, to liquidate a lack. Men and other representation of maleness are often cast in stereo typical roles projecting male traits as heroes. They are the ones to enter into difficult situations to negotiate and perform the salvific act, to save the individuals through a demonstration of bravery, determination and brute strength. As heroes, they are counted upon to take care of their families, they must make critical decisions and call the shots (Marlon, in Finding Nemo ). Whatever the form of literature, in earlier and more recent times, there is no subtlety about the male hero. He is the loudest, proudest and most visible. He is dominant and almost always perform his task individually with a brilliant showcase of physical strength. He is projected as an egotistical alpha male who knows all there is to know. According to Brown, “Critics of this century, … the nature of the hero, theories of law and justice, the evolution of society— all terms we recognize culturally as masculine” (Morgan 56). In essence, the masculine brand of heroism have penetrated every facet of literary work with its various representations. He is celebrated for his strength. He is the knight in shining armour that saves the day.

There are just too many men and not enough women. Many books, children’s movies, comic books and other forms of literature that characterize men as “the hero” to look up to. Too often these depictions and portrayals of “heroes” project images that feed into the stereo-typical male attitudes. The kind of attitude that breeds arrogance, machoness, physical prowess and insensitivity. More and more women in literature are emerging in leading and dominant roles celebrating equality and diversity that women bring to the field.  According to Jeffrey Brown, “Today’s young viewers (and older fans of animation) enjoy the exploits of girl heroines with increased roles in team-based shows like Justice League Unlimited, Teen Titans, and The Kids Next Door.” Brown was keen to point out that female enjoy the exploits of ” increased roles in team-based shows” ( Brown 141). This is to say that women and men work together as equals. Some of these shows rightfully promote the idea that women are as capable as men to perform some of these roles and may even excel when cast into the role. 

Brown endorses Nancy Drew’s advocacy for the female heroine. He stated that Nancy Drew has “Remained a viable enough property to warrant new books and a feature film Nancy Drew (2007), and new series such as Fearless, Undercover Girl, Spy Goddess, and Jane Blonde have also proven immensely popular with young readers.” “Add to this the teen heroines of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dark Angel, D.E.B.S., and Veronica Mars and you have an undeniable trend in popular culture: the young girl as action heroine” (Brown 67)

Susan Morgan in her work, Imagining Gender in Nineteenth-Century British Fiction, commented on Austen’s work. She presented very interesting points of views as to Austen’s attempts to deconstruct the traditional hero. Morgan points out that “Austen deconstructs the convention of the traditional hero through her lively heroine and she also redefines creativity.” She states that, “It is no longer a matter of natural talent, a matter of power radiating from the physical to the economic and social and artistic spheres, at its worst, Henry Crawford’s acting ability or, at its best, Mr. knightly’s quiet  perceptiveness” ( Morgan 55). She further asserts that, “The masculine hero is unmasked for what he always was, a figure of dominion and its inevitable companion, destruction, a cultural and literary myth posing as a physical fact” (Morgan 55). Morgan went on to comment that, “Creativity is always a matter of intention, not of natural fact. And true creative power, the power to create one’s own life, not somebody else’s, neither dominates nor excludes. It is not masculine but feminine. And it is available to whomever would choose it, to men and to women, to Emma Woodhouse and to Harriet Smith, to Henry Crawford and to little Fanny Price” (Morgan 55)

Clearly, Austen’s fiction establishes a link between, an intrusion of, women and creativity— not as inspirations but as creators. As Trilling surmised, in Austen’s work women characters move from the roles of muse or artistic material to the role of poet, to “maker of the song she sang.” The merging of the artist and woman enters British fiction with Austen’s heroines. It recurs in novels throughout the nineteenth century, in the continuing identification of artists as women, the continuing identification of novelists with their heroines, and, most significantly, in the continuing vision in nineteenth-century fiction of creativity as a feminine value (Trilling 62)

Works Cited

Morgan, Susan (Author). Sisters in Time : Imagining Gender in Nineteenth-Century British Fiction.Cary, NC, USA: Oxford University Press, (date). p55, 56.
http://site.ebrary.com/lib/ocultrent/Doc?id=10086778&ppg=67

Brown, Jeffrey A. (Author). Dangerous Curves : Action Heroines, Gender, Fetishism, and Popular Culture. Jackson, MS, USA: University Press of Mississippi, 2011. p 141.
http://site.ebrary.com/lib/ocultrent/Doc?id=10447295&ppg=150

www. Greek mythology – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – Photius

Pictures from www.google.ca

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The Fugitive, in Search of Identity

 In my past three posts I have focused on three different hero-figures to show the diversity in the depiction of heroes in Children Literature. In this issue my focus is on a modern kind of hero, one that overcomes economic and social challenges in the 21st century.

In the novel Bud, Not Buddy, by Christopher Paul Curtis, Bud the protagonists is depicted as having tremendous struggles. He struggles for acceptance, individuality, and identity. His struggles are microcosm of greater societal problems such as finding economic opportunities and meaning to life in a globally depressed society. Though faced with insurmountable odds, Bud endured and successfully gains what he initially lacked through a series of unfortunate circumstances.

Bud, Not Buddy

The story of Bud bears striking similarities to the story of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. They are both orphans who have no stable dwelling place. They struggle to find identity, meaning and connection to family and community. The reality however, is that the historical context and setting that drives the narratives are different in social and economic context. Dorothy’s story is based primarily on fantasy, while Bud’s is a more realistic depiction closely align with everyday challenges.

Bud is depicted as a gentle child at the beginning of the book . However, the emotional and psychological setbacks are evident in his life, from the discovery of his mother’s death at the age of six. The sense of  legitimacy and stability he once enjoyed while his mother was alive, is removed. These are hard issues for children to comprehend, much more having to deal with them first hand. His plight has just begun as he meanders the rough terrains of life in order to find his identity and meaning. Adding to this illegitimacy, is the fact that there is no fraternal presence in his life. The mementos he holds on to: the clipping of a man he believed to be his father, an envelope with pictures of his dead mother, a saxophone case and a few rocks with inscriptions of dates on them, are what seemed to energised the young boy. He must grow up quickly! A hard life for a six-year-old to undergo.

 At the death of his mother Bud was placed in foster care. By the age of ten he had been moved from foster home to foster home, suddenly and without warning. On one occasion Bud was having breakfast when he was suddenly asked by his case worker to pack his belonging because he was about to be moved to another foster home. The lost of his mother and the stress and emotional pain Bud experienced caused him to become hardened  to the point where he was unable to cry anymore. The valuable mementos he carried, the expectation of meeting his father and the priceless lessons his mother taught him to never give-up in spite of how hard things may get, kept him hoping. I cannot help but think of the tremendous pressure this young boy is under to “come of age.” He carries the weight of living up to his mother’s traditions and values, as well as working through his own emotional pains.I believe it is the responsibility of parents, community and adults to walk alongside young boys and girls as guides to help cope with the challenges of growing up.

Bud was placed in foster care with the Amos family who were from African-American descent like him.  He soon learned that sameness, culture and colour does not equate to good treatment and fairness, at least not with his foster parents. Mrs. Amos believes that her son Todd can do no wrong. He bullies Bud and deceptively turns it around as if Bud was the one treating him poorly. Bud is seen as a  liar, and a  “beast” by the adults in the family. The young Todd manipulates his mother and uses his illness as an excuse for his poor behaviours. Things became so bad in the house that Mrs. Amos and husband locked Bud in the shed outside with a blanket and pillow among the night creatures. This ordeal amounts to nothing but abuse. It is a sad state of affair when the domestic space is violated as a safe place, especially by those entrusted with safety and protection. Furthermore, the very systems put in  place to prevent abuse are the systems that inflict and perpetuate hurt.The boy was so frightened and upset that he ran away soon after, but not before he took revenge on Todd. He  poured warm water on Todd’s crotch while he was asleep making it appeared as if he had wet his bed. The prank served to embarrassed and demean Todd so that he would change his behaviour towards future foster children. Although funny, it is also Bud’s way of asserting his place in society, defending himself. The Amos family who claims to be moral and upstanding people are the complete opposite. The manner in which they describe Bud is really a reflection of themselves. They are able to project a facade that does not reflect who they are.

Hooverville Community

Bud’s identity and sense of self-worth is firmly rooted in morals and traditional values his mother taught him. For example, Bud was taught the story of the picture he carried and the meaning of his name. She told him never to allow anyone to call him Buddy, because she had intended him to be called Bud,” like a flower-in-waiting for just the right warmth and care. It is a little fit of love waiting to unfold and be seen by the world” (Curtis 42). One of the last things she taught him was no matter how bad things, got when one door closes another is opened. Bud is beginning to realize all the things his mother has told him. He experienced first-hand what it means to have one door closed and another opened. When he was turned away at the mission from having breakfast, someone in the line pretends that he was their son and he was able to have breakfast. Bud’s story allows us to understand the nature of human. In that, people are both kind and mean in times of depression . Sometimes its the people with the least that shares the most. The Hooverville community is a prime example.

The mementos that Bud kept in his travelling case are the link to his past and the connection to his future. Bud learned many things on the road as a fugitive. Each journey  takes him closer to his future, but not before he encounters various obstacles. He has to sleep under the Christmas tree in the open air and find food at the missions in order to survive. He must elude the authorities in order to get board the train. He missed his train after chasing it down. He lost his good friend Bugs that day as the train carted him of f to another city. Bud has incredible survival mechanism for a ten-year old. The ideas his mother gave him as well as his imaginary rules are certainly coming to bear on his survival skills. Bud’s story and adventures are bound to captivate the young minds.

Mosaic of things important to Bud

 As the plot unfolds, slowly we begin to understand the meaning of the things Bud, carried with him. The four rocks reveal the true relation between  Herman, Bud and his mother. Through these rocks that Bud carried for years, Herman is able to make the family connections because the rocks bare his writing. In thinking about these rocks I cannot help but think how “little” and seemingly “insignificant” things can hold the key to unlock valuable and transformative information.

When Miss Thomas and Mr. Jimmy verify the person in the picture as Herman’s daughter, they knew they were unlocking truth. Miss Thomas held Bud’s hand and said,”Excuse me your grand dad didn’t know anything about you” (Curtis 222) this is significant for two reasons. She is essentially apologizing on behalf of Herman Galloway for contributing to Bud’s illegitimacy. The second point is that Bud is now gaining a sense of belonging, as he is being recognized as part of the family and community. As Bud unpack the baggage he has taken around for years literally, bit by bit he is finding meaning and healing from the past. Bud was officially accepted as part of the band when he was given an Alto Sax as a gift by the band members. Music was in his family and the gift of music is perhaps the greatest way to say “welcome to the family.” From his lowly position as cleaning person in the band he is now elevated to an active member of the band. Bud not only acquired a talent, but gained a place on the stage of life and most of all, a family.

There are many equipment for life to be gleaned from the story of Bud. Children need a sense of identity and belonging in order to thrive. With the right tools, they can conquer the obstacles in their path. We see  how Bud’ s mother taught him to never give up, to believe in his name and his capabilities. He took this to heart and it served him well on the journey to manhood. He learned that the closing of a door is the opening of a greater one leading to more rewarding and meaningful opportunities. Children have a resilience that is second to none to be able to survive in difficult situations. The importance of community is prominent in the story. People can survive to a certain extent with very little resources, especially when there is a common cause and when the community work to gether in unison. We must never lose sight of the fact that our children needs a legacy on which to move forward. This legacy is not financial or materialistic in nature, but one that is grounded in identity, passion and belief. Having a legacy and a sense of purpose, fuels determination and perseverance resulting in achievement and satisfaction that are strong traits exercised in the story. There is no better way to grow boy into men and girls into women than to give them a sense of purpose.

Works Cited

Curtis, Christopher Paul, Bud , Not Buddy, New York, New York 10036, October 1999, Print

This article explores the functions of Heroes and Heroines from around the world http://www.educationoasis.com/bc/articles/exploringheroes.htm

Pictures of Bud and  Hooverville community www.google.ca

A Different Kind of Hero

Who would ever consider “Ugly” as being synonymous with heroism! The Ugly Duckling is the story of a hero who does not confirm to societal norms. The themes of abandonment and neglect resonate in the story. However, there are many questions worthy of consideration when one examines the underlying suggestive nature of this story. Whatever the questions are and the answers to them, there is no denying that the story has incredible values and merits that are timeless and worthy of  pedagogical importation.  This posting will analyse the merits of the story and provide a critique of some of the questions evoke by the story. 

Physical Characteristics

What is ugly? Our misguided ideologies sometimes lead us to confirm to societal dictates. When we confirm to society’s thinking we lose part of our identity, our individualism and our abilities to shape our personal values. The characterization of the Ugly Duckling in the picture is one that is worthy of comment. Clearly, “ugly” is defined as physical characteristics. In the picture, physical deformity is prominent; notice the very large eyes, the buck teeth, crooked beak and the straggly feathers. These are all part of a definition of “ugliness.” If we interpret this portrait at face value, then our definition of “ugly” would read, “Beauty is skin deep.”  I often wonder why so much value and emphasis is placed on physical characteristics and how a change in physicality would affect our definition. For example, if an “attractive” person is suddenly changed in physical appearance by some act of fate, would this person still be considered attractive? In this case I reserve my opinion and interpretation. I believe that even though the picture features negatively, there is a redeeming quality to it, in that, the body posture of the Duckling speaks a language which says ” There is nothing ugly about me. I am proud, very proud to be me!”

Different, not Ugly

There is a particular serenity about this portrait. The blue water, the sense of family and togetherness makes it very calm and appealing. One cannot help however, noticing the difference in the colour of one of the ducklings. The probing mind may enquire, why is he so different? What happened, is he from a different batch or is he of different parents? Why is he yellow and all the others black? I would like to consider this duckling not as ugly but as unique. Sometimes we misinterpret uniqueness for “ugliness” and as a result our opportunity to celebrate the beauty in uniqueness is lost. Independently, if we look at the duckling without comparing it we are sure to discover beauty. It is when we begin to compare that we lose the essence of what beauty is all about. If beauty for us is “skin deep” then we missed the most valuable lessons of the moment. Yes, the eyes may be fooled by appearance, but our inquiry into beauty must delve below the surface to unearth the treasures stored beyond the  visible. In this case, it is the peace, the care, the acceptance, the unity, the sense of family and the love that radiates from the occasion. These are the things that define beauty.

Different ! Very Different !

The distortion of the duckling in this picture is pronounced. He is much larger, set apart and disconnected from the family. The eyes are somewhat devious and creepy. If  we look carefully at the siblings they are making a mockery of him, laughing no doubt at his apperarnce.It’s feet and beak are darker and much larger in comparison to its siblings. There appears to be no external beauty to celebrate. Although this is a tale that is not to be taken literally there are indeed some questions that must be asked of the depiction. Does being darker and larger constitute “ugly”? By whose standard then are we defining beauty and ugliness? It behoves us then as we seek to carry on the traditions of fairy tales, to be diligent to uncover and dispel various underlying myths and stereotypes that can promote unhealthy values.

Interesting, Would you say?

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. The story of the little duckling is one that help us to the deal with the issue of acceptance and abandonment. Clearly, if one has a visible impediment he is instantly looked at in a not-so positive light. As children literature evolves, so do the life lessons they emanate. By far, the Ugly Duckling has captured many benevolent hearts. The equipment for life portrayed in this tale is invaluable. In spite of the obvious neglect, the incredible sadness and pain of being an outcast and left to fend for itself, the Ugly Duckling survived against all odds. The Golden heart of the duckling is revealed when his sibling found themselves in insurmountable perils as their mother is removed from the situation. With every ounce of energy, determination, grit and perseverance, the duckling risk death to ensure the safety of his siblings. What is most beautiful about this tale is that resentment, grudge and animosity do not form part of the narrative. The internal beauty of selflessness, love, care and brotherhood surfaced and saved what was sure death for the family. It is not the physical characteristics that interprets life’s’ greatest lessons, or define beauty, but the internal fortitude adorn with deeds of compassion, care, love and kindness that are the greatest indelible legacies.

Pictures www.google.ca

The Chronicles of a Heroine

Dorothy and Toto

Introduction

Dorothy is an ordinary little girl who was orphan at a young age. She came to live with her Uncle Henry and her Aunt Em on the great Kansas prairies. Dorothy is  polite, lively, fun-loving and caring. While on the farm, Dorothy became very attached to her dog Toto. She has many dreams, one of which is to visit the Land of Oz, to see the Wizard. Dorothy finally realizes her dream but not before she encounters many obstacles.

 The Road paved with Obstacles      

“… She knew very well she was only an ordinary little girl who had come by the chance of a cyclone into the strange land” (Baum, 20). Dorothy’s road to individuality and legitimacy was not paved with gold. The designation of Dorothy as an orphan is an obstacle that no doubt lends to her emotional, psychological and social stigmatization. This designation undoubtedly affected the young Dorothy in finding her place in society. She lacks a family to give her that legitimacy and a sense of belonging essential in communal living. Not having a family places Dorothy on the fringes of society. She is a critique to the social order of her time. To add to the hardship of the tender Dorothy, she is  transplanted into a family in which she must adjust to the cultural, economic and social environment. One can imagine the generational obstacles she must overcome to begin to live a normal life. Dorothy must undergo these changes to successfully maneuver the Rite of passage in order to transition to the next phase of her coming of age. In essence, she must “grow a thick skin” to become a mature person.

When Dorothy came to live with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry in Kansas, she did not fit into their lives as easily as one would imagine. She is an outsider who challenges the norms of reality. Her presence stands in contrast to the elderly couple who are matured, cultured and establish. Dorothy is of a carefree spirit, full of life, laughter and a spirit of adventure which proved too much for Aunt Em. “Aunt Em had been so startled by the child’s laughter that she would scream and press her hands upon her heart” (Baum, 2). This transitional phase for Dorothy is essential in her coming of age experiences. Dorothy must deal with the adversity of rejection and the pain of an outcast in order to succeed. There is nothing that she wants more than friendship and attachment to others. Her quest for passionate attachment is painful as she is unable to find it, thus far in human.  The attachment she lacks in human is what she embraces in Toto, her dog. 

Dorothy finds in animals and objects what she lacks in people.  One day, a great cyclone appeared and transported Dorothy to the Land of Oz.  Dorothy’s house was planted on the house of the wicked Witch of the East, crushing her to death. She is transported into another world where the transformational forces in the Land of Oz teaches her trough adversity, community, and friendship in preparation for the real world. The witches’ death was attributed  to Dorothy and she became famed throughout the Land of Oz.  Dorothy must undergo the journey to the Emerald City to see the Great Oz who would aid her return to Kansas. She enquired of the witch of the North the way to the Emerald City. She gave Dorothy a silver shoes containing mysterious powers and kissed her on her forehead leaving a “round shining mark” (Baum, 11)  The symbolism of the kiss serves as protection in her rite of passage, and also a sign of her future esteem and the good that would be fall her. The shiny mark is representative of her future “Princess status.”

On her way to the Emerald City, Dorothy encounters the forces of good and evil. Dorothy and her companions set out on the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City. On her way, Dorothy encountered several adventures, she became tired, discouraged and unable to see at times but with the help of her good friends and companions she was able to move forward on the journey. Each of these character suffers a lack; the Tin Man needs oil to prevent rust, the Scarecrow needs a brain and the Lion a heart. Dorothy was able to help each of these who in turn help Dorothy along the way when she was tired, discouraged and unable to see clearly.They foster such community spirit and adds to helps to legitimate Dorothy as someone in society.Dorothy values community and  learns that helping and caring for others is a reciprocal process. She values friendship and relationship and her propensity to bond with animals in the novel out weighs her success to bond with people. It is also notable that, on Dorothy’s journey, she eradicates evil and promotes goodness. We see this in her getting rid of the wicked witches, pouring water over another and melting her.  

The storm that took Dorothy, away taught aunt Em the importance of security. When Dorothy returns to reality, Aunt Em was very happy to have her back. She embraces her and Kiss her a sign that she is ready to show that compassionate, love and care that was lacking in the first place.  Her actions mirror to a degree those of the Good Witch of the East “covering her face with kisses”  (Baum 140). The absence of Dorothy made the heart of aunt Em “fonder”. She accepts Dorothy with open arms and offer her all the love and protection that she craved at first. This marks a profound change in the tale. Dorothy now belongs to the family she is not an outcast anymore she gains legitimacy as she is now a part of a family and society. 

                           A place where Dreams come Through

The Emerald City

 Dorothy finally reaches the Emerald City. She meet the Wizard and make her request to him known. We may dismiss this story as simply a story of  fantasy. However, the story is much more than a fantasy tale. It has practical application for everyday living that are undeniable. In this story Dorothy never stopped dreaming of going to the Land of Oz. Dorothy returned to the city several times because this was the place where her wishes and her desires came to pass. We can all reach this place where our dreams can become realities. 

Get inspired    

On a practical level, we are reminded that nothing good comes easy. Consider the obstacles and hardship Dorothy endured as an orphan in order to get to the City of Emeralds. Besides being fatigued and discouraged, she met many obstacles and challenges. These challenges helped to strengthened and build character in the young Dorothy as she comes of age. We are also reminded that adversity builds character and endurance. In the story, good always triumph over evil. Dorothy represents good and she triumphs over the evils that she encountered, including the evil witches of the east and west. It is particularly interesting too, that on the road of life we need the friendship and companionship of each other to succeed. In Dorothy’s case she needed the Scarecrow, the Tin man, the timid Lion and Toto. They all helped her, and in the end she was able to reach the City of Emeralds where the Wizard granted her desires and she was able to reunite with her uncle and aunt in Kansas. 

Works Cited

Baum, Frank L, The Wizard of Oz. New York: Penguins Books. 1994. Print

Rite of  Passage http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rite_of_passage

Pictures of Dorothy: www.google.ca

Pictures of the Emerald City : www.google.ca

 

The Emerging of a Hero

                    Song by Bette Midler: Wind Beneath my Wings

 

Introduction

Heroes and Heroines are the most common archetypes in Folks and Fairy Tales.  They are most often featured prominently in children’s stories for their bravery, feats and remarkable deeds. Children remember the stories from these memorable characters who can teach them valuable lessons. In the novel, “The Wind in the Willows,” by Kenneth Grahame, the character Mole is the most unlikely of heroes. Mole, by virtue of his name and habitat, measures very low on the totem pole of animals. He does not appear to possess characteristics desirable in a hero, yet as the story unfolds Mole proves to be a formidable hero. 

About the Hero

A view from the hole

Mole’s Adventure

Often we craft in our minds, as well as visualize and anticipate, a certain kind of hero. Our presuppositions lead us to overlook the real hero because of our stereotypical mindset. Typical heroes are portrayed as being brave and strong, and possessing magical powers. Mole does not fit some of these criteria; he is not your typical hero. He appears timid and lacks the physical characteristics of a hero. He is presented from a very unassuming. undignified, and most improbable place: a hole in the ground. This is no entrance for a hero. Undoubtedly, this character appears by all means established and self-sufficient in his domestic space. He is independent and appears comfortable in his home. Furthermore, he is learned, well spoken, and projects an upper class nobility. His social status does not afford him his freedom and individuality but a monotonous and seasonal existence. There must be more to life! Evidently, mole’s “divine discontent” (Grahame,  ) between wanting to stay in his hole and the desire for adventure is great.  As outlined in Propp’s functions of fairy tales, he emerges from the comforts of home to pursue new adventures while undertaking the hero’s journey.

Mole leaves home and enters a world in which he must now familiarize himself with his new environment. The tension is great as he adapts to his new way of living. He must learn the way of the “river people” in order to pursue the next step of his journey. Mole forges a great friendship with his helper Ratty, whose expertise provides pertinent guidance essential for Mole’s survival in his new settlement. Rat teaches Mole important skills, such as how to row a boat and how to swim, among other things. They become good friends.

Determination, adventure and risk taking characterizes Mole. Mole endeavours to meet the wise and reclusive fraternal figure, Badger. Badger lives deep in the Wild Woods, where the terrain is treacherous and unforgiving. Adventure may prove difficult as evil lurks at every turn and the elements of winter make it even more impossible. In spite of these obstacles, one day as Ratty was asleep, Mole ventures off into the woods in search of Badger. It was not long before Mole became entangled in the vicious web of evil that lurks in the woods. The coldness of the winter chilled his bones, he was tired, evil faces pierce him with their stare, he became frightened and hid. Mole had the opportunity to turn back, he did not and strength came in the form of his good friend Ratty. This boost of courage resolved his determination to battle on and in the end he reaches the home of Badger. Mole was able to do what seemed impossible-that is to get to Badger and move his out of his comfort zone.

Mole is a gentle and caring soul. In his new habitat, Mole expended himself in order to know all the important people in his community. One day,  Mole finds himself  in the vicinity of Toad Hall and paid Toad a visit. The aristocratic Toad was elated to dazzle Mole and Ratty with his tasteful extravagance of his latest fad. Toad lives life on the edge, with his fleeting fancies of fast cars, horse-drawn caravan and horses. Mole and Ratty experienced his recklessness first hand in a twisted and mangled wreck. They feared for their lives as well as Toad’s. Being the concern and  caring person that Mole is, he seeks out Badger, the wise fraternal figure to have him warn Toad of his reckless ways. However, before Badger can get to Toad he was already incasarated for his recklessness. Another incident also demonstrate Mole’s compassionate and gentle spirit. Learning that Otter’s son was missing, Mole and his side kick-Ratty went out in search of Portly. After searching for some time they discover Portly in the care of god Pan. Imagine the relief and comfort Mole felt in finding Portly. Mole place in his new community is unmistakable! He always finds a way to make the best of every situation. His forward-looking attitude, his character, loyalty, courage and compassion exemplify Mole as a true hero.  

In true hero’s fashion, “Dulce Domum” Mole returns to his home. His home was untidy and in need of care. Far more important was the treasure chest of knowledge, experience, friendship and a spirit of adventure that Mole brought back to his community. This wealth of knowledge is certainly able to change and enhance his community as Mole returns and shares his experiences.

Lessons from a Hero

As a hero, Mole goes beyond the call of duty to ensure that he acquaints himself with all the important people in his new land. Heroism is not defined by a single great moment in mole’s journey, where the audience is awed by some conspicuous act. Careful examination of the text shows that Mole enters the community of the “river people” and establish friendship. He gained the trust of the community and as he continues to stay he was able to perform some kind deeds, learn about the culture, the people and morphs through the whole process. Ultimately, Mole’s learning was able to benefit his own community.

 Works Cited

Grahame, Kenneth. The Wind in the Willows. New York: Puffin Books. 1983. Print.

Elles, Edwin, Heroes and Heroines of the Long Ago, The Washington Historical Quarterly, Vol. 2, No. 2 , University of Washington, Jan., 1908, pp. 132-145: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40473856

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