Everyone Needs a Hero (Ch. 1)

Protagonists usually fall into one of the following literary patterns or types:

  • The anti-hero: This is the guy your mother would not want you or your sister to date. Don_Michael_CorleoneThey are often graceless, selfish, sometimes inept, sometimes brilliant beyond measure, manipulative, and/or dishonest. Many times other characters are actually drawn to them because of the dark qualities. But the anti-hero also exhibits a combination of good and bad qualities. Examples – Jay Gatsby – “the Great Gatsby”, Hannibal Lecter – “The Hannibal Film Series”, Michael Corleone – The “Godfather” films, and Shrek fits this mold as well.
  • The tragic hero: This is the person whose bad end is ultimately a result of flaws within oneself (greed, anger, selfishness, etc). Tragic heroes can elicit emotions from the audience (negative and positive). Aristotle argues that these heroes are relatable because they experience (and many times act on) real emotions like jealousy, rage, fear, sadness, or love. They imagesare also thrust into very human situations like the loss of a loved one, war, infidelity, crushed dreams, etc. The tragic hero must transition through a true character arc… many times connected to loss… loss of  fortune or fame, or things the character holds dear. Characters change from good to evil, king to pauper, savior to sinner, etc. ExamplesAnakin Skywalker – “Revenge of the Sith” or Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”).
  • The romantic hero has been somehow rejected by society or is otherwise non-conventional in their ideas and ways of life. Romantic heroes are also often on some kind of quest, either a physical quest or an emotional/spiritual one — but many times the Romantic hero’s quest begins from a desire to fulfill something for herself or himself and yet the character ends up serving a greater cause. They may experience cynicism yet the-last-of-the-mohicans-originalexhibit compassion and offer a willingness for self-sacrifice. Example Hawkeye – “Last of the Mohicans”)
  • The modern hero This is the average (or sometimes less than average) person who is put in extraordinary circumstances and rises to the challenge. Many times this character must overcome internal landscape_nrm_1417616048-jennifer-lawrence-katniss-everdeen-wallpaperstruggles of conflicts along the journey. Example Forrest Gump
  • The Hemingway hero is adventurous, and loves to travel, struggles with internal conflicts, may have been in a war, may drink too much, doesn’t like to show fear or love (these emotions are considered weak), has commitment issues with the opposite sex, guided by individual set of morals and no one else’s, success is measured by how ones faces conflicts. ExamplesJames Bond in the “007 films” or Han Solo in the “Star Wars Saga.”han-solo-return-of-the-jedi_612x380
  • The epic hero is usually of noble birth or upper class, capable of deeds of great strength and courage, great warrior, celebrated in their homeland (or culture), experiences a journey or takes him or her on a quest, practices humility or mercy, and faces supernatural foes and/or receives supernatural help. ExampleSimba – “The Lion King.”
  • The accidental hero has no desire to carry the mantel of hero. This person stumbles into a conflict, and without truly meaning to will save the girl, the dog, the day .. or even the world. the accidental hero at times actually tries to escape an existing conflict only to be drawn back into situations where he/she continues to perform Ash-in-Army-of-Darknessheroic actions. It seems that fame, or favor may follow this hero even when the hero runs from it. The accidental hero is one who is in the right place at the right time, and by the end of the story may actually embrace the heroic attitudes. Ash from the Evil Dead series ultimately becomes the accidental hero.

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Sources:

Manning Notes – film, and story: “Film Criticism: Gardner-Webb University” (2015).

Donald Miller, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” (2009).

Donald Miller, “Into the Elements” DVD (2012)

Robert McKee, “Story” (2006)

Blake Snyder, “Save the Cat” (2005)

Barsam, R., & Monahan, D. (2012). Looking at Movies. New York: WW Norton

Boggs, J. M., & Jackson, K. (2008). The art of watching films: A guide to film analysis. Menlo Park, CA: Benjamin/Cummings Pub.7th edition

Carfagno, V. R., Higgins, M., & Rafael, C. M. (1972). Character Analysis. Retrieved from http://www.wilhelmreichtrust.org/character_analysis.pdf

Davis, D. R. (2008, February 28). How to write a character analysis. Retrieved June 29, 2016, from Teaching college English: The glory and the challenges, http://www.teachingcollegeenglish.com/2008/02/28/how-to-write-a-character-analysis-and-a-personnel-review/

Harcourt, H. M. What are the differences between an epic hero and a Romantic hero? Retrieved June 29, 2016, from Cliffnotes, https://www.cliffsnotes.com/cliffsnotes/subjects/literature/what-are-the-differences-between-an-epic-hero-and-a-romantic-hero

Hemingways code hero powerpoint presentation. (2002, November). Retrieved June 28, 2016, from http://www.xpowerpoint.com/Hemingways-Code-Hero–PPT.html

How to write a character analysis in 10 easy steps – eNotes.com. (n.d.). Retrieved June 28, 2016, from http://www.enotes.com/topics/how-write-character-analysis

Lopez, E. (n.d.). Responding to literature: Understanding character analysis | Scholastic.com. Retrieved June 28, 2016, from http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plan/responding-literature-understanding-character-analysis

Morris, A. (n.d.). Character analysis in literature: Definition & examples – video & lesson transcript | Study.com. Retrieved June 28, 2016, from http://study.com/academy/lesson/character-analysis-in-literature-definition-examples-quiz.html

Null, C. (2005). Five stars!: How to become a film critic, the world’s greatest job. San Francisco, CA: Sutro Press.

Purdue owl: Writing a literary analysis presentation. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/697/01/

Ray, R. (n.d.). What is an epic hero? | Characteristics of an epic hero. Retrieved June 28, 2016, from http://www.storyboardthat.com/articles/education/english/epic-hero

Stanley, R. H. (2011). The movie idiom: Film as a popular art form. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.

Stoller, B. M. (2003). Filmmaking for dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Pub.

Tv tropes and the accidental hero. (2015, September 9). Retrieved from tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AccidentalHero

Winokur, M., & Holsinger, B. W. (2001). The complete idiot’s guide to movies, flicks, and film. Indianapolis, IN: Alpha Books.

 

 

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. This was really interesting, never stopped to consider there are different kinds of heroes, I particularly liked the romantic hero!

    Like

  2. Cool post, would read more like this!

    Like

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