Extended Definition of a Modern Hero Essay

Extended Definition of a Modern Hero Essay

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Classical heroes commonly display bravery and strength in their noble feats of self-sacrifice in order to attain fame and glory as a savior of his or her people. However, in modern times, a hero may represent a cause to achieve peace and amity with his or her society, no matter the differences between each person. Other admirable modern heroes express indifference towards racial and religious distinctions and help those in need, sometimes at their own life’s risk, despite their disapproving society. Whether society recognized their contributions years later or immediately after, our culture appreciates a hero’s expressions of courage and goodwill.
In the early 1970’s, a gay man named Harvey Milk refused to accept discrimination as a homosexual and gained fame as the first openly gay man in the United States to win an election for public office. After running twice, the citizens elected Milk as a San Francisco City Supervisor in 1977. Milk constantly told gay people to remain hopeful and said, “We have to make up for hundreds of years of persecution” (Gold). Oliver “Bill” Sipple, a gay man who saved President Gerald Ford from assassination, refused to reveal his sexuality to the public out of fear that his mother, an ardent Baptist, would ostracize him. Milk wanted to encourage Sipple to reveal this information, saying: “It's too good an opportunity…for once we can show that gays do heroic things” (Shilts 122). After Dan White assassinated Harvey Milk in 1978, a memorial plaque in honor of Milk mentioned his activism for human rights, the respect and support he gained from his efforts, and the inspiration he provided for people trying to find the end to discrimination and bigotry. Similarly, Martin Luther King, Jr. defended Afric...

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...rs in his factory when they were at risk for deportation to concentration camps. Schindler even exempted handicapped people, women, and children from deportation by persuading the Gestapo soldiers that they still served mechanical purposes. Oskar Schindler and his factories saved approximately 1,200 Jewish people by the end of World War II.
While many classical and modern heroes would attempt just about everything in the name of fame, Harvey Milk, Martin Luther King, Jr., Miep Gies, and Oskar Schindler acted upon morality and a need for justice in their societies. However, both types of heroes display some form of self-sacrifice and goodwill.

Works Cited
Gold, Herbert. "A Walk on San Francisco's Gay Side.” The New York Times. 6 October 1977: SM17
Shilts, Randy. The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk. New York: St. Martin's
Press, 1982.

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