The Great American Read: the Hero’s Journey


For those of you who have been following my blog posts, first of all #BLESSYOU. heehee, Secondly, you know that my new fall favorite TV show is on PBS and it’s The Great American Read. I posted about it the other day, here,  and this past Tuesday night a great new installment was aired, titled THE HERO’S JOURNEY.  As a writer of contemporary romantic fiction, the word HERO means a great deal to me.

My on-line dictionary describes the word HERO as : a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities: a war hero. the chief male character in a book, play, or movie, who is typically identified with good qualities, and with whom the reader is expected to sympathize. (in mythology and folklore) a person of superhuman qualities and often semi-divine origin, in particular one of those whose exploits and dealings with the gods were the subject of ancient Greek myths and legends.

Hero’s are very near and dear to me and Tuesday night’s broadcast put the true definition of the hero into perspective for me as an author, and as a reader.

For instance, did you know that there are all sorts of heroes? Superheroes like Superman and SpiderMan exist solely on the fiction plane, and we’re not going to discuss that classification. No, the heroes I’m talking about – and that PBS divided the 100 books about heroism into, are classified as Tragic, Everyday, and Anti-hero.

The Tragic hero is one for whom fighting the good fight against something amoral, illegal, or who is trying to make the world better, faces an ultimate fate where the outcome will not be good. The books mentioned on the broadcast that fall into this category are: The Invisible Man, 1984 and Charlotte’s Web

    

Then, there’s the Everyday Hero. A man, woman, teenager, or child, who is going about their humdrum lives when they are suddenly forced to make a decision, or perform an act of bravery, that they ordinarily wouldn’t be required to do. Books in the category included The Hunger Games, I, Alex Cross, The Hunt For Red October, The Help, and The Giver

      

 

 

   

The last category of Hero is the ANTI-Hero or the Unexpected Hero. On this list we have Catch-22, Don Quixote,  A Confederacy of Dunces, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-Time.

  

  

 

I’ve only read 2 of the books on this list and I feel a little…bad, about that. I need to up my game in the hero department. I’ve seen most of the movie adaptations of the books mentioned, but we all  know the book is always – ALWAYS – better in the long run.

So, this episode got me to thinking: who are your heroes in fiction from the categories mentioned. I’m not talking about BatMan or Thor. I’m talking the everyday, the tragic, and the anti-hero. Let me know your favs and we’ll see if they match mine.

And don’t forget to watch The Great American Read every Tuesday night on your local PBS station and VOTE for your favorite book on the list.

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