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The Bravery And Courage Of Different Heroes English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1322 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Bravery and courage two qualities which heroes possess. Throughout the world beneficial deeds performed by certain individuals allows society to classify a certain group of individuals or a person as a ‘hero’. The term hero is not necessarily for the actions been performed by an individual to benefit everyone as for example the work of a soldier who fights ruthlessly to protect a nation and its civilians. However in literary works of art, heroes are usually the main characters around whom the progress of the story evolves. They are also defined by the actions of the characters focused upon in these two respective books leading to the the formation of the centralized heroes.

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As the title of the work suggests Metamorphosis, the author has effectively used this centralized concept to highlight the transformation of the protagonist of this novel. Gregor, the sole earner of the family, turns into an insect. This extreme changeover of Gregor’s mind and body has a distinctive attribute contributing to the classification of Gregor as a ‘hero’. The journey an insect takes allows Gregor to intensely review the differences in the lives of an animal and human living in the world. Thus making him an unusual representation of a ‘hero’.

As the story begins, we as readers are shed light on the unfortunate circumstances Gregor deals with this rapid changeover allowing to be successful in making the most out of an unexpected circumstance. The extreme shift into a cockroach and the utilization of distinct features of his new body allow Gregor to live in this state and offer him some relief. His character evolves from being a salesman who hates his job to an insect who is pretty satisfied looking at the world from a new perspective. It shows Gregor’s struggle to survive in society as a human but his transformation leads to his personal development in the end. He seems happier and more humane than the other characters in his body of an insect.

Just we are left perplexed when we recognize that Gregor remains, with his six legs, squeaky voice and an enormous body, the hero to the very end of the text. What is unusual is that the hero who had fallen at the very beginning never gets a chance to get up or resurrect from his fallen state. Samsa inherits a single room with food thrown at him and walls to crawl on at his disposal, shown through the lines – “For in a room where Gregor reigned in solitary state over the bare walls it was unlikely that anyone save Grete would ever dare to set foot” [1] . People around him are disgusted with the thought of dealing with a strange insect; “Gregor’s serious injury, which afflicted him for more than a month – the apple remained imbedded in his flesh as a visible reminder, since no one had the courage to remove it – seemed to have brought home even to his father that despite his present lamentable and repugnant shape Gregor was a member of the family, who ought not to be treated as an enemy, but that on the contrary family duty required them to swallow their disgust and put up with him, simply put up with him. ” [2] – the use of this quote aids in the understanding of the strong feelings of disgust.

Although we recognize that this is atypical of a conventional hero, what is even more surprising is that the progress of the plot does not see him physically, mentally or emotionally changed. By the end of the book however it is the others who change and become different. This ‘change’ directs them to erase Gregor from their lives completely and “the greatest immediate improvement in their situation would of course come about easily through a change of residence” [3] .

Meursault on the other hand, in Camus’ book – The Outsider, is an ordinary man living an extraordinary life. He seems to be a typical son, boyfriend, employee and civil citizen. What makes Meursault an atypical hero is his way of thinking. He refuses to pretend and is honest with his feelings even up up to a point of looking odd and exclusive. For example, in his response to his mother’s death “Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don’t know. I got a telegram from the home: “Mother passed away. Funeral tomorrow. Yours sincerely.” That doesn’t mean anything. It may have been yesterday.” [4] . He is seen as being abnormal because he drank coffee and smoked a cigarette instead of crying at his mother’s funeral.

Another instance that seems to make Meursault an irregular guy is his response to his girlfriend’s question. She asks him if he loved her but he “told her that it didn’t mean anything but that I didn’t think so” [5] . The reader, like the rest of the world wonders about his response. The end of Meursault’s life when he is taken to face his death sentence finds his response totally in incongruence to what is expected he says “I realized that I’d been happy and that I was still happy. For the final consummation and fro me to feel less lonely, my last wish that there should be a crowd of spectators at my execution and that should greet me with cries of hatred” [6] . What makes Meursault atypical is the cause of his death sentence and his response to the law. We learn that by accident with the sun in his eyes Meursault says “My whole bring went tense and I tightened my grip on the gun. The trigger gave, I felt the underside of the polished butt and it was there, in that sharp but deafening noise, that it all started” [7] and he shoots an Arab down. But when the magistrate and the chaplain try to ask him to repent for his action, Meursault does not understand how it is his fault because to him it was an accident and never intentional.

The law seems to look like fools here because when they are looking for any evidence from Meursault’s past life to point out his criminal tendencies all the law can find is that he did not cry at his mother’s funeral.

Like Samsa, Meursault seems to have transformed others rather than himself. He remains a man who lives for himself rather than for the society he lives in. His lacks emotion or rather his stoic, rational response to life leaves him triumphant in his own eyes and in the eyes of those who understood him. Like Camus himself declares in his Afterword “that I tried to make my character represent the only Christ that we deserve.” [8] 

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Gregor Samsa on the other hand though he decays and dies, has however left a clear impression on his immediate family. His parents and his sister no longer need the hero’s support. They have learnt to get by on their own. They leave their home town and their old home behind. They take a journey to an unknown destination leaving the fact that they had a son or his life behind.


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