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In Time for a Tiger, Anthony Burgess impresses upon his readers that his heroes are genuinely human flawed, encumbered and impure. Instead of detracting from the characters hero statuses, the shortcomings they possessed and accepted only made th

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Introduction

From a very young age, children are conditioned to idolize certain fictive and actual figures in our society. Heroes, who are so grand, we cannot help but try our best to emulate them. My personal heroes are usually a combination of intelligence, strength, compassion, humility, bravery and selflessness. There comes a point however when my aspirations seem futile because I have venerated these figures to the point where they transform into divine deities, distant and far superior than anything I could ever try to be. I look towards these omnipotent beings and instead of seeing what I could be, I see what I am not. What is worse is when our heroes fail to meet the high standards they we adhere them to. It is a horrible feeling when someone you thought to be perfect falls short of your expectations. This disappointment is unreasonable seeing how humans are all defective. We are upset because they were presented as images of near perfect and now that illusion has been shattered. In Time for a Tiger, Anthony Burgess impresses upon his readers that his heroes are genuinely human - flawed, encumbered and impure. Instead of detracting from the characters hero statuses, the shortcomings they possessed and accepted only made them more relatable. In particular, I greatly admired the characters Victore Crabbe, Ibrahim bin Mohamed Salleh and Alladad Khan because they all eventually triumphed in spectacular ways while remaining inside the scope of a realistic reality. The idea that we can control every aspect of our lives is preposterous. Only after realizing this will we stop being disappointed and learn to accept that life is in a constant state of fluctuation. ...read more.

Middle

In fact, he explain how "deliciously ill-used he felt" (pg. 122) and finished his farewell-letter giving out his audacious forgiveness. He left feeling completely "clean and virtuous" (pg. 122). Though Ibrahim's boldness is comic, I only hope that one day I can muster a portion of it. He shows us that even if we are mocked because we are different, we can find happiness in it all because it cannot be worse than hiding miserably in a mass of nondescript people. Ibrahim's refusal to reform is also a great source of my admiration. He was running from his wife who terrified him and prayed to Allah that she may either stop seeking him or die in the process. When Rahimah approached him with a vial of potion to restore Victor's love to her, he is horrified at the notion that perhaps his wife is also employing a magician to regain his heart. I thought it was interesting that the idea of being made to "want to do that that horrible obscene thing" (pg. 100) is what is terrifying for him. If he were given this potion, he would love his wife and be open to the idea of procreating with her. He would willingly abandon his life of mockery and criticism to accept the social norm and he would presumably be happy doing so. Instead however, he wants to remain true to himself even though is current life as an abnormal fugitive is far from perfect. If I were in his position I would have probably been intrigued by the idea of being given the potion. ...read more.

Conclusion

I am guilty of this selfish and ungrateful mindset. Discontented with the past, we look towards the future for a better life but refuse to acknowledge amelioration when we receive it. Even Alladad's daydreams are neither excessively indulgent nor profuse. He wants to grow some plants and be remembered by his future generations, this is by no means an extravagant dream. I was truly inspired by the way Alladad Khan's storyline ended. The loud and exciting ends that many action hero's story arcs recieve pale in comparison to the humble and joyous conclusion that Burgess gave his character. Burgess uses his flawed and impure characters to shatter our conception that heroes are paradisiacal creatures who are above normal human imperfections. In fact, their flaws only make their successes more incredible because they can be considered heroes not despite but including their shortcomings. They made me feel empowered because they lived broken and unsatisfying lives but through strength of will they managed to improve their situations. There struggles were neither enthralling or majestic but realistic thus rendering them infinitely more satisfying. Victor Crabbe, who vainly pursued control yet could not mange to put the past to rest, showed me how to both conquer and capitulate to escape whatever imprisoned in a life I did not desire. Ibrahim, though terrified of his wife still managed to be a staple of confidence and strong will. Alladad Khan who sought acceptance in both holiness and sin because regardless of his offenses, he was loyal and humble. These characters proved to be incredible heroes because Burgess never tried masking their defects that rendered them such accurate depictions of human beings. Instead, they were made to struggle, wallow, mourn and question themselves because their painful journey is what made their final destination worthwhile. ...read more.

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