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hero in america
October 17, 1996
Essay # 3
" Öand he saved the day, got his girl and everyone lived happily ever after." Sweet, short, cut and dry, that was the typical ending of our childhood books and early movies. There was the perfect hero and the bad villain. That was in the pre-modern era, now our hero isnít always perfect and has his flaws. The hero in todayís movies needs these flaws and needs to travel through a combination of paths to become a hero. In order to sell movies which decide who a hero is in todayís society. A hero in todayís society needs to admit that he needs help and isnít superman, he needs to have problems and prove that he doesnít belong up on a pedestal where his image is totally unattainable, third he needs to travel one of the paths of a hero according to Seger. Bruce Willis plays the character John McClain in the trilogy Die Hard, he is a good example of a hero in America today.
In the third movie, McClain takes on a partner to help him fight a mad bomber. This is different from the movies from the past, James Bond or John Wayne never needed help. The partner he picks is a inner city black man, in the fifties this never would have happened. The fact that he picks a black man incorporates some multicultural aspects into the movie. The fact that he picks a partner shows some post modern aspects of Hollywood. Both of these facts help sell movies and help define a hero in America today.
Another aspect that makes McClain a post modern hero in America is the fact that he to has problems, James Bond was never like this, he always had a woman by his side, or falling at his feet. People held this man in high esteem, because he was perfect. However in real life blond bimbos at your feet donít happen all the time. Post modern heroes have problems McClain even though he is out saving lives and helping people his wife wants a divorce. People can relate better to John McClain because we all have problems besides the bad guys. The hero today isnít so perfect and people are able to relate to him more easily.
The travel of a hero from an average guy to a hero via the myths defined by Seger is also another determining factor in what a hero is today. McClain travels through the combination myth. He was an average cop when thrown into all this chaos and makes the commitment to doing something about it endangering his life. He also travels through the healing myth when he is fighting in the first movie his relationship with his wife is on the rocks but he realizes during his fighting how much he really needs and loves his wife. In the end his relationship is strengthened and the healing journey is over.
Through the ages a hero is defined by someone who people admire and want to be more like. The hero in ancient Greek times was Hercules and then in came Beowulf and then King Arthur and so on. A hero doesnítí necessarily have to be real but some one that people can strive to be more like, and when those situations arise (not usually as big as in Hollywood) they will know how to act. The heroes of Hollywood are not as good as role models as those of the past, but they still follow the same guide lines as them. They have comforted to what sells in order to make movies and as you see everywhere negative sells.
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Jungian archetypes, Hero
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