Qualities of a Hero
A hero is anyone who accomplishes something outside the conventional range of possibilities within a given context. Such an individual receives great praise from those around him or her for his or her courage in the face of overwhelming challenges. Throughout history, these courageous men and women have inspired their generations and influenced their behaviors. Helen Keller and Rosa Parks are two such examples. Rosa Parks was a civil rights activist in the United States who dared to challenge the status quo of racial relations by refusing to acquiesce to segregation laws existing at the time. Helen Keller on the other hand was a blind and deaf lady who dedicated her life to advancing the cause of the disabled in society. While perceptions of a hero may be varied, this paper explores the common characteristics shared by all heroes, as exemplified by Helen Keller and Rosa Parks.
The most definitive character of any hero is courage. Heroes commit to courses of action that are full of challenges. However, these challenges notwithstanding, a hero always strives to fulfill his or her mission and he or she will not give up, sometimes even in the face of dire consequences. Both Helen Keller and Rosa Parks were courageous in their decision to refuse to give in to unfair practices of their time. For example, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in spite of her knowledge of the sanctions of segregation laws while Helen Keller refused to be discouraged by disability in her quest to achieve in life. Indeed, it is the mark of courage to stand up against unfair traditions or conventions. Secondly, both Rosa Park and Helen Keller were resilient. Rosa Parks continued to participate in court proceedings against segregation laws despite losing her job and facing constant harassment for a year (History.com Staff, 2009). On her part, Helen Keller advocated for the education blind despite individuals who thought sign language was primitive and sub-human. Thirdly, both heroes exhibited initiative, a common thread that runs through all heroes. For example, when Rosa Parks was asked to give up her seat on the bus alongside three other black passengers, she declined to do so yet the other three had obliged. Helen Keller also stood up for the rights of people who had been neglected in society in spite of there being no popular support for her cause at the time.