What is a hero?

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SAT Essay Question - December Prompt: Again and again we hear the complaint that we have no heroes anymore. Heroes--people who should be admired for their great courage or noble achievements--are no longer recognized in our modern world. Many people, in fact, believe that heroes existed only in the past. But this belief is wrong. Because more praise is given to the latest technological innovation than to one individual's heroic achievements, we may not be aware of our heroes, but we do have them. Question: Is it possible to be a hero in the modern world? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue.


Mortenson, a mountaineer and hiker, nearly embraced death on a mountain in Pakistan after a bad fall. He was rescued by a small village, and was given food, water, and shelter, even though the villagers had very little of these for themselves. As Mortenson recovered, he discovered a cultural fault (by his standards) in Pakistani society - there were no schools for girls! Shortly after returning home to America, Mortenson began a harrowing effort to raise money to build a school in the village that saved him. After years of pain staking effort, he finally succeeded. He didn't stop there, though. He made the tough decision to dedicate his life to building schools all around Pakistan.


I didn't even know these girls, but they stopped for a helpless stranger to see if he was okay. That is my interpretation of a true hero. The conventional view of heroes in society differs from what my view is. A hero doesn't have to be totally courageous and noble. Look at Greg Mortenson, a man who dedicated his life and time to education in Pakistan, not because he thought it was brave (though it was), but because it was right. Look at my friends, who stopped and helped me, not because it was noble, but because they cared. In this topic, the only way for us as people to foster an understanding of ourselves and each other, and to facilitate growth in people, is to be aware of heroes, and aspire to be like them.

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