Hero vs. Anti-hero

We have this discussion in literature class each semester – what defines an anti-hero? Usually, the defining elements are a lack of courage or idealism. But, don’t we usually, in life, lack these traits, at least some of the time, too? Do we always act with courage and conviction? Do we hold ourselves up to a higher standard; do we live in such a way that we are above reproach? I think many of us strive for these qualities, but we fall short, of course.
The thing about fiction, good fiction, fiction that grabs your insides and plants seeds in your head that grow into thoughts, is that good fiction holds up a mirror to us and makes us look at ourselves, individually, as a group, as the human race. Fiction reflects us to us. The genres determine what kind of mirror does the reflecting. But, our characters should be real in their struggles, real in their grappling with opposing forces, look over their shoulder to see who’s looking when they are making decisions.
Can we write about heroes today that fit that archetype and have them be believable?


About melindamcguirewrites

The young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat. ------ William Faulkner, Nobel Prize Speech, Stockholm, 1950
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3 Responses to Hero vs. Anti-hero

  1. Lafemmeroar says:

    I agree. Literature sticks to our bones and makes us go “hmmm” about ourselves, life and the world.

  2. bravebluealpha says:

    The best we can do is fail forward. We will always believe in heros as long as there is goodness left in us. It is human nature to root for the good fighting evil or even evil fighting evil. As long evil is there, the heros will have to fight it and I will go with them be they hobbit or Ivanhoe.

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