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Essay Description of Heroes and Antiheroes

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The eyes are called the windows of the soul, for they reflect the unique qualities or shortcomings of the person they belong to. However, despite the distinct combination of various virtues and vices that exist within every living being, a certain gleam of selfishness is detected within the layers of most human eyes. Heroes are the rare exception to this; this selfish streak is replaced with the glowing embers of a perpetually burning fire that feeds on the desire to be selfless for other people. Unfortunately, over time, the quiet bearers of this undying flame such as Jefferson from Ernest J. Gaines’ A Lesson Before Dying, are often forgotten, or the misdeeds of cowards such as Victor Frankenstein from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein are overlooked. Heroes are defined by their ability to go against selfish human instincts in trying circumstances, which makes all the difference between the heroic Jefferson and Victor Frankenstein. The ability to defeat obstacles to achieve a goal that benefits society, unwavering courage and being responsible go against selfish impulses and therefore, these traits define a hero.
Jefferson is a hero for the black community, for he musters enough determination to go through the difficult ordeal of making a stand for them in his final moments. While Victor Frankenstein yields to his selfish mind and abandons the creature he slaved over for years, due to its appearance. Jefferson must have at desired to go to his dreadful fate in peace, without any trouble. However, he realizes that dying with dignity effectively discards the label of a ‘hog’thrust on him by a white lawyer which will provide hope for the black community. If he, the lowest of the low can discard the fetters cast upon him by...


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...e white community, while Victor Frankenstein’s weak will causes him to immediately abandon his creature after seeing its grotesque features. Furthermore, Jefferson’s remarkable courage helps him defeat the natural fear of death and Victor’s cowardly nature causes him act too late, which causes several deaths. Most importantly, Jefferson’s responsible nature allows him fight the selfish impulse to forgo responsibility in his trying situation, whereas Victor shamelessly blames his fatal foray into galvanism on his curious nature and his father. Therefore, true heroism is rare for it goes against the desire to give way to one’s selfish instincts, which is the very embodiment of a human being.



Works Cited
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein.New York: Signet Classics, 1963. Print.
Gaines, J., Ernest. A Lesson Before Dying. New York: Vintage Contemporaries, 1993. Print



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