Demystifying the Truth of ‘Heroes vs. Villains’

Demystifying the Truth of ‘Heroes vs. Villains’

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David C. McCullough’s quotation: “History is not the story of heroes entirely. It is often the story of cruelty and injustice and shortsightedness. There are monsters, there is evil, there is betrayal.” contains a moral that I strongly agree with. This quotation can be interpreted differently depending on the reader. As for me, I believe that McCullough meant that truth is never fully revealed, and who the hero is; depends entirely on the reader. He also aims to shine a light on literatures completion of history. I agree with this quotation because I share the same views about the ‘incomplete truth’, ‘heroes vs. villains’ and, the ‘power of text’.

In my opinion, history is twisted storytelling. The events that take place are told from the perspective of the narrator, which in most cases is biased towards their side. This is why the ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’ could never be completely identifiable, since each side has its own. The ‘heroes’ of one side are the ‘enemies’ of the other. I could relate to this personally but in the world of sports. The scenario that comes to mind is one where I was watching my favorite team, the Los Angeles Lakers, play. As the tied game was approaching the final whistle, a player from the opposing team scored a shot at the buzzer to win the game. Of course, to the opposing team, that player is the hero. However, in my case, I perceive him as nothing but the villain that took my side down. And, if myself and a fan from the opposing side, were to both comment on the game; our answers would extremely different.

Moreover, I believe history is an ‘incomplete truth’. The narrators deliver only what they desire for the readers to know. In most cases, that means they only convey the happy and glorious messages while leaving out the hardships and ill-favored details. Another element that plays into the untruthfulness of published history is the tweaks and changes it undergoes. When you place these two factors together, it ironically seems that some ‘history’ may only be loosely based on true events. An example of that could be something as simple as a kid not telling the whole truth to their parents. I can remember a time when I had found a watch that my mother had lost, behind the bed. Naturally, I grabbed it and gave it to my mother.

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At this point in the story, I seem like an innocent hero; however, what I didn’t tell her was that I broke the bed frame while trying to get it. In retrospect, leaving out some small details can completely revamp the truth.

“That’s why people should read Shakespeare and Dickens as well as history.” I believe what McCullough was trying to convey in this quotation is; reading history will give you an insight on some of the events that took place in a period of time, but will only provide the reader with a limited number of details. However, reading literature provides the reader with the fullest of details to go along with the occurring story line. I firmly agree with this statement and believe that history should be written in a way similar to that of a novel, or piece of literature. That way, the main event and all the enhancing details could be provided. This provides the reader with a choice as to who the ‘hero’ is and who the ‘villain’ is.

In conclusion, David C. McCullough’s words communicate a very evident truth about history and its perception. Those being, different people have different opinions on the same topic, the story is never complete, and that literature is the way we make up for the loss of detail. These words mean a lot to me since they are a reflection of my opinion, but they also taught me a valuable lesson. I learned that the truth can be manipulated not only by changing it, but by simply brushing off some of its surrounding dust.

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