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The role of the Hero in American literature changes depending on internal and external pressure on America at any given time. During the 1930's the hero was a lone man

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The role of the american hero in american litreture The hero as defined in the terms of a narrative is for the most part the catalyst that moves a story forward into a three act structure. Equilibrium, Conflict, Resolution. What is particular interesting in the context of American literature is the relationship that the Hero has to events outside the sphere of the piece of fiction it belongs to. In America, times change very quickly and this is reflected in the Literature, movies and theatre of the decade. By examining the quality's that the hero excerpts on the world around him or in the way the world around him excerpts itself on our hero, we can see the state of the current homogony and social norms. So by looking at how the hero plays his/her part in novels from each decade we see what characteristics and prevailing attitudes are there in the current social train of thought. This is useful to see the evolution of North America not only internally but how it relates to crisis externally i.e. the threat of communism, the great depression and the growing anti authoritan feelings that grew in the 1960's. ...read more.


Remember some of the largest anti war rallies were held during this time. Yossarian's Character throughout the book is anti war but anti war for his own selfish reasons, he doesn't want to die. It reflects a hard truth that many young Americans were facing during that time and also reflects the growing anti authoritarian movement that was growing in America too. At the end of the "booming twenties" the economic climate changed. The great depression struck and large parts of the mid-west became a dustbowl. America turned in on itself as it tried to come to terms with a crisis on a scale that it had not seen before. Gone were the days of care free consumerism to be replaced by a far more stringent mindset of thrift and "penny pinching". The book Grapes of Wrath deals with this time in Oklahoma following a family as they leave everything they know in to go in search of work and a better life. The main protagonist is Tom Joan. A convicted felon he leaves prison to find his family. He arrives home to find their farm shut up and his entire family living with neighbours. Tom as a character is very anti government, he sees the trouble that has befallen him and his family as the fault ...read more.


The role of the Hero in American literature changes depending on internal and external pressure on America at any given time. During the 1930's the hero was a lone man who came in fixed things and left. In the 1950's he was the superhero coming in to help the cause of America. In the 1960's the hero was the man who stood up to the government. These are some examples but there are shades of grey and for every book that has a hero who is for the government there'll be a hero who is against the government. It sometimes depends on what side of the fence you sit on. The above examples were ones who would follow the main homogony of the decade with maybe an exception with the crucible. The hero in American literature is dependent on what America needs at the time. It is interesting to note that the Naughties, which has been a time of huge external pressure on America thorough the ever present threat of terriosm, the superhero movies have made a big resurgence. This I feel is because the needs of America are almost cyclical, and so we can hypostasis that because of the recession which has hit the global economy that maybe will have another hero like Tom Joan. Time will tell. ________________ [1] [2] ...read more.

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