Essay on Heroes versus Idols

Essay on Heroes versus Idols

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Today, heroes and idols are seen as almost one in the same, but there are major differences between the two. Martin Luther King Jr. is widely regarded as a hero not only to African Americans, but to the world as well. American Idol contestants are seen as heroes as well, but on a smaller scale. By Definition, a hero is “a man (occas. woman) generally admired or acclaimed for great qualities or achievements in any field,” according to the Oxford Dictionary (OED def. 3A.). Whereas an idol by definition is “a person so adored,” (OED def. 2B.) or “a false mental image or conception; a false or misleading notion; a fallacy,” (OED def. 6B.). True heroes are those who have been at the forefront of major change or have achieved a great deal in their lifetime, such as Martin Luther King Jr. Those who are seen on television on reality shows, like American Idol, that are trying to make a dream come true or become famous are idols not heroes.
In Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, King describes how African Americans are still not free despite Abraham Lincoln issuing the Emancipation Proclamation to free slaves one hundred years earlier. Using words such as “we” and “my friends”, King does not single himself out above those who are listening to him, but instead he groups himself in with the audience creating a sense of togetherness. This allows the audience to better connect to the message that King is trying to get across in his speech and relate to him as a person. The kind of relationship that King has with his audience along with his message of equality without violence, has made King a primary example of what a hero should be.
King follows in the footsteps of President Abraham Lincoln, another hero in his own right, by g...


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“Idol, n.” Def. 2.b. Oxford English Dictionary. 3rd ed. Oxford UP, 2014. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.
“Idol, n.” Def. 6.b. Oxford English Dictionary. 3rd ed. Oxford UP, 2014. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.
King, Martin Luther Jr. “I Have a Dream.” 40 Model Essays: A Portable Anthology. 2nd ed.
Jane E. Aaron and Ellen Khul Repetto. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin, 2013. 358-62.
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"Martin Luther King Jr. - Biographical". Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2013. Web. 14 Apr
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Zengotita, Thomas. “American Idol Worship.” 40 Model Essays: A Portable Anthology. 2nd ed.
Jane E. Aaron and Ellen Khul Repetto. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin, 2013. 134-36. Print.

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