• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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

Extracts from this document...


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The English Patient

    5 star(s)

    method of defusing that would completely change the way bombs were handled in England. Kip was uncomfortable with the respect his skill earned him among the ranks of men. Because of his race, he was used to being anonymous and invisible in England, and he was comfortable with that.

  2. Comparing the Role of Women in Sense and Sensibility and Othello

    marring betraying her race by marrying a man not the same colour as her. Also, since she was the senator's daughter, she was supposed to marry someone from the upper class and with high status, but instead marries a general who is the age of her father and is a different race.

  1. Compare and contrast three examples of gothic fiction

    Jekyll created Hyde as a mechanism to let his socially inappropriate impulses free. Of course, he soon found that his own will was not strong enough to control the beast he had created and when science eventually failed him as well, his very self was destroyed.


    To believe that what it means to be a mother is just giving birth is the reductionist view held by many of the males in these texts. What they ignore are the numerous other layers of motherhood that ironically have shaped even them to be the people they are.

  1. Control, submission and rebellion in the novels The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood, Memoirs ...

    that because of the government?s expectations of Dietrich to be a straight man, he is forced to hide his true self. Since he has been doing this for a very long time, he is now used to it and just conforms to the government?s rules.

  2. Compare and contrast American playwrights presentation of masculinity in Death of a Salesman, Whos ...

    a failure as a man by both audiences of a modern and contemporary nature. Consequently the structure of ?Death of a Salesman? plots the demolition of Willy?s perception of his masculinity. This failure and decline is represented by Miller in the structure of the two acts and requiem.

  1. Twentieth century literature often portrays the relationship between men and women as deeply problematic. ...

    while Teddy is being dispossessed.?[11] The theme of marriage is handled in Duffy?s ?Mrs. Aesop? in a contrasting manner, in that the open, vulnerable quality of ?Frau Brechenmacher Attends a Wedding? or of ?Bliss? is replaced herein by bitter sarcasm.

  2. Comparison - Rendezvous and American Psycho

    because he as mentioned builds his identity of narratives, among the cinema. The murders does not seem to have any rational reason ? he is neither advantaged nor protected by them. Bateman is best characterized as immoral, extremely narcissistic and, as he says himself in the monologue at the start, greedy.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work