Thehero in america the i is king we are a nation that

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Unformatted text preview: a dangerous wilderness, a place of mysterious evil, as we see with Naturalism. The Hero In America, the “I” is king. We are a nation that celebrates the individual—his achievements, her triumphs. Think of the Olympic athletes. We are more apt to remember Michael Johnson, Kerri Strug, and Carl Lewis, than the others who placed 10th. This is because, in America, the individual reigns supreme. Indeed, the stereotypical American hero is the self­made man or woman, the individual who, through hard work, initiative, and perseverance, makes his or her fortune and achieves the American Dream of success and wealth. In pop culture—movies, television, pop novels—the hero typically prevails. Wherever the hero finds himself/herself, this person is always able to overcome the odds. The hero often journeys into dangerous territory (violent neighborhoods, outer space, etc.) and overcomes the evil that threatens us. This hero is the marshal who cleans up the town, the Marine who saves the platoon. He is Luke Skywalker conquering the dark side; Will Smith or Segourny Wever pounding aliens into submission. In American literature, however, the hero is often altogether different. The evil he struggles against is, very often, his own society—its rigidity, its constrictiveness, its limitations, its cruelty, its prejudice (as in Frederick Douglass’ autobiography). In the literature of the twentieth century, the hero often fails (Willy Loman). For unlike pop culture which comforts us...
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