Essay Willing To Fight For What You Believe In

Essay Willing To Fight For What You Believe In

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The story “Palais de Justice” by Mark Helprin is about a defense attorney who has a substantial amount of experience in racing sculls. He’s a rather old fashioned man and when he is challenged by a young man whom he calls a “Spartan”, his knowledge of the waters allows him to navigate his scull with ease and ultimately defeat his opponent. But what does the attorney acquire at the climax of the race? Some might say death and others a greater sense of the risk that one must take when in battle. So one of the prominent themes in the story is that sometimes people are willing to fight for what they believe in.
The defense attorney’s knowledge of the waters could be compared to that of an Athenian because the Athenians were the heart and soul of the naval forces. For example, page 6

“He was lucky, because he knew the river so well that he had no need of turning to see where he was headed. So precise had the fifty years rendered his navigational sense that he did not even look when he approached bridges, and shot through the arches at full speed always right in the center.”
What differentiates a Spartan from an Athenian is that a Spartan possesses brawn and is young and an Athenian, posses wisdom and is old. Spartan officers are also considered to be admirable opponents “the ultimate fighter” and were considered to be role models or leaders for the armies they commanded. So one could say that there is a battle that exists in the story, both physically and mentally. If the indeed the attorney defeats the Spartan officer then that was considered to be a victory for his own self. Thus creating an epic battle between the two opponents. An example of how the race could be portrayed as an epic battle would be on page 5

“The defens...


... middle of paper ...


... educated Athenian youth-the natural leaders of the postwar generation-refused to take any role in public affairs, or showed their rejection of the traditional way of life by antisocial activities of all kinds: excessive drinking, sexual looseness, squandering wealth, idleness. The reaction of the older generation was kind of backlash against freedom and democracy. This conflict was to last until the end of the fourth century when Athenian democracy was dead, and with it the respect for reason, the ancient civic humanism.”
So the attorney wants to hold a firm grasp on his old fashioned way of life and war in almost all cases leads to change which the attorney does not want because he is more conservative.
It is evident that Helprin alludes to the arsenal bridge to create a remembrance of the spirits of an older generation of warriors for many years to come.

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