I recently gave a presentation for one of my classes on my heroes, so I thought that it would be kind of fun to post a new one everyday. If you follow my blog at all, some of them will be very obvious.
The term hero is very subjective--it means something different to everyone. I found two great quotes that helped me define what exactly a hero is to me.
The first comes from Emerson (one of my favorite sources for quotes): “The youth, intoxicated with the admiration of his hero, fails to see that it is only a projection of his own soul which he admires." The people whom I admire have the characteristics which I would most like to see in myself.
The other quote that I found is one of my old favorites from Elizabeth Drew: “The test of literature is, I suppose, whether we ourselves live more intensely for the reading of it.” To me, a hero is someone whose life makes me live more intensely for knowing of it.
C.S. Lewis was a very obvious choice for me, and the first person who entered my mind. Lewis is the author of The Chronicles of Narnia, The Space Trilogy, and The Screwtape Letters among many others. These books are some of my favorites--I have read them and re-read them a few times over the years. When I was a child, my parents read The Chronicles of Narnia to Jackie and I at least twice. I didn't realize it at the time, but those books became an integral part of my identity. The archetypal themes of good and evil, heroes, courage, and right and wrong are all themes which you will probably see relfected even in my choice of heroes. I believe that these books helped to (over)develop our imaginations which kept my sister and I entertained for hours upon hours of our childhood.
In high school, I was introduced to The Space Trilogy which changed my life to some degree. These books came to me at a time when I had started to think of the world in a different light. I was taking a Physics course. We were studying Einstein's Theory of Relativity and I was started to think about the ideas that I had seen in Madelein L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time and Lewis's Space Trilogy. Is time travel possible? Are there other worlds and universes out there?
I respect Lewis a great deal as a writer. I admire his creativity. What must it be like to have such worlds spinning around in your head? He was also very wise and had a well-developed sense of humor, both of which can be seen in his writing and in his many quotes (which of course I love).
Another element of Lewis's character which I admire is his intellect. He was an Oxford scholar, and a close friend of J.R.R. Tolkein. The two were members of a literary society known as the Inklings, who valued narrative fiction (my favorite genre) and fantasy literature. I love people who discuss ideas.
I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from C.S. Lewis:
If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.
Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.
Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.
(Okay, I couldn't choose just one...)