Everybody Wants to Be a Hero

throughout all of the novels we have read over the semester, there is very few aspect to tread a connection through all of them. We have gone to a variety of different time periods, different types of narration, and different realms of realism.There is a “hero complex” within the desires of every main character we have read.

In Zulus, Alice Achitophel wants to be the one to bring a new life into a serialized world. In Home, Frank Money wants to save his sister to make up for his wrongdoings in war. Blake sees a community of diseased outcasts as a possibility for medical intervention rather than a new way of life in Clay’s Ark. Finally, Mike Spitz sees himself as “an angel of death”, saving the skels and stalkers in the city from an eternity of wandering.

I do not see this complex as the defining features of the characters, but they are major pulling points in the plots of each novel. And in the end, these mindsets are meant not to be fulfilled. In every example I have listed, the end consequences of the book never match up to the hopes set up by the characters. It may seem then, that the entire journey that had been embarked on was in vain, none of it mattering in the end. But really, there would never be an ending if these characters continued on in their delusion. If Alice Achitophel had continued to try for another baby after she had lost her second, she and Kevin wouldn’t have the opportunity to kill the dying world. She does get to become a “hero” just not in the way she imagined it.

Creating a hero complex in characters is in no way a bad thing, but an author must do so while fully aware of what it truly means. A true hero is real and complex. They can save the day, but never in a way they would expect. In the wise words of David Bowie, “We can be heroes, just for one day.”

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