Heroes

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Essay Question: ‘Heroes must fight with enemies in the world but also with their own personal difficulties’. Do you agree?

It is a truism that heroes fight with enemies in the external world. What is less well understood is that heroes must also battle with their own personal demons. The relationship between internal and external struggles is the focus of this essay. It will be shown that the external struggles of a hero actually derive from their internal strife. Illustrations of this connection are found throughout the novel Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. The character Ender experiences fear and struggles with bullying. Another example of a hero experiencing both internal and external struggles is found in the poem As the Ruin Falls by C.S. Lewis. Lewis, the protagonist, battles with his own selfishness as he seeks to love his dying wife. In both texts the protagonist’s internal trials are intrinsically linked to their external struggles.

To understand a hero’s interaction with external issues it is important to have a thorough grasp on their internal struggles. The pivotal battles of Ender’s Game are played out in the head of Ender Wiggin. Ender is a closed character - through early struggles he learnt ‘how to hide anything he felt’ (pg. 45). The use of ‘anything’ in this phrase is an example of speech with high modality. Card uses such speech, along with exaggeration, to emphasise Ender’s introverted nature. Short simple sentences add haste and urgency to Ender’s plight. Card uses diction to create a sense of negativity, using words such as ‘hate’, ‘ punish’ and ‘suffer’ throughout the novel. Knowledge of Ender’s internal struggle aids in understanding his external struggles with Bonzzo. There is bitter irony in the se...

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...n Falls’ and then in ‘and now the bridge is breaking’ (Stanza 3) draw the reader into the real-time struggle of the author. All of these literary techniques help us to grasp Lewis’s inner turmoil and to see the impact of his inner world on his external relationships.
An analysis of heroes in Ender’s Game and As the Ruin Falls demonstrates that they struggle both externally and internally. Additionally, their internal struggles are shown to determine their external struggles. The internal demons that Ender and Lewis face establish the ‘battle lines’ of their external struggles. Ender heroically perseveres in the face of oppression. Lewis’s self-imprisonment was impossible to escape and so heroically he thanks his dying wife for enabling him to love another. Knowledge of the inner turmoil of the hero enables one to understand their battles with enemies in the world.

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