Simple Act Of Heroism Essay

973 words - 4 pages

A Simple Act of Heroism We all remember the childhood fairy tale about the knight who saves the princess from the evil dragon that locked her away in a tower. Our idea of a hero is often stereotyped to be this strong, courageous knight. However, if we believe this to be the definition of a hero what about all the other acts of heroism? If a poor simple man gives his last bit of food to the homeless family walking the streets , is he not a hero also? The simplest acts maybe considered heroic. In Stephen Crane's A Mystery of Heroism, the character displays a simple act of heroism. Fred Collins' heroism is defined by his intense situation , brave actions and the heroic outcome of the story. The story is set during a battle of the Civil War. Stephen Crane is known mostly for writing American war novels ( "Stephen Crane" 233). His character Fred Collins is a thirsty private during a battle on top of a hill. While gun fire lights the sky and men lie dying on the ground Fred can only think of his thirst and calls out "Thunder, I wisht I had a drink. Ain't there any water round here?"( Crane 487). Even with all the gunfire his mind does not turn from his thirst. He notices a well across the battlefield. To run across would be the same as committing suicide. Now he is torn between his thirst and his courage. Fred's comrades have now picked up on his dilemma and start to joke with him about fetching water from the well. Fred tries to stand up from himself and decides that he will go after the water. If Fred was to achieve his goal his comrades might think this a heroic act because of their dangerous situation. However, it might just be an act of stupidity. Fred now must decide if he is going to stand up for his pride and thirst or succumb to his fears. Fred takes actions into his own hands. He goes in search of his captain. Collins then asks, " Captain, I want t' git permission to go git some water from that there well over younder"(489). His Captain warns him of the danger that this would cause. After contemplating for a moment he decided to let him go. If Fred has the desire to risk his life for a drink of water the Captain was going to take advantage of it. His...

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