The Power Of Context: Heroes Essay

1456 words - 6 pages

When we hear of heroes we automatically reminiscing back on our childhood, and the many figures that represent heroes in our lives. In an imaginary world when we think of “heroes” or “gentlemen”, we stereotypically constitute characters such as superman, batman and Spiderman. Some even envision a knight and shining armor riding into the sunset or walking through fire to save them. It is astonishing to think that whenever life gets tough we can create an illusion of another world. Fortunately, in the real world, heroes come in all shapes and sizes. We have heroes in everyday life, whether they do the simplest thing or the most magnificent thing. In the essay “The power of context” by Malcolm Gladwell, he presents the story of Bernhard Goetz, a man who was tormented by the fear of crimes in New York City where he lived. Goetz eventually snapped and shot four delinquents on a train. At that time Goetz was considered a hero for eliminating some of the neighborhood’s problems. But later when crime decreases, Goetz was called a criminal for his actions. Similarly, in the “Naked Citadel” by Susan Faludi, she also presents the heroine actions of Shannon Faulkner, a young girl who challenged the citadel’s one hundred and fifty year old all male policy. To some Goetz and Faulkner are heroes but to others they might be perceived as other wise. Heroes are the people who are making a difference in everyway they can, no matter how big or small. We need heroes in every aspect of our lives; whether we need to be saved from a big dilemma or a shoulder to cry on, a hero is someone who is always there. A hero is needed most when everyone else is afraid to stand for justice, but there is one brave person who is willing to. We need heroes first and foremost because our heroes help define the limits of our aspirations.
A hero stands up for what is right no matter the consequences are. A hero is needed most when everyone is desperate to make a change but is afraid to. In the case of Bernhard Goetz, although some people viewed him as a criminal; many viewed him as a hero. Goetz might have unrightfully taken the law into his own hands, but he was the change that everyone was yarning for. When crime was rising and everyone had had enough, Goetz was the only person who had the courage to do something about it. After shooting the four young men in the train for tying to rip him off Goetz was seeing as a hero. Goetz was not the average everyday hero. In fact, Goetz is one of those people who get called a hero for doing the wrong thing in the spare of the moment. Once his story had been forgotten about, everyone surpassed his heroic action and viewed him as a criminal. Gladwell states, “At a time when New York had become the fastest big city in the country, it seemed hard to remember precisely what it was that Goetz had once symbolized. It was simply inconceivable that someone could pull a gun on someone else on the subway and be called a hero for it” (237). In other words,...

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