How do we define the personality traits of a hero?


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How do we define the personality traits of a hero?

  • If it’s done towards others as a service. If it’s done voluntarily. It’s done knowing the risks . It’s done without any personal gain (“Zimbardo”)

  • “situations also have immense power to bring out heroic actions in people who never would have considered themselves heroes.” “Immediate life and death situations, such as when people are stranded in a burning house or a car wreck, are clear examples of situations that galvanize people into heroic action.” (“Franco & Zimbardo”) “ Accounts of Sugihara’s life show us that his efforts to save Jewish refugees was a dramatic finale to a long list of smaller efforts, each of which demonstrated a willingness to occasionally defy the strict social constraints of Japanese society in the early 20th century. For example, he did not follow his father’s instructions to become a doctor, pursuing language study and civil service instead; his first wife was not Japanese; and in the 1930s, Sugihara resigned from a prestigious civil service position to protest the Japanese military’s treatment of the Chinese during the occupation of Manchuria. These incidents suggest that Sugihara already possessed the internal strength and self-assurance necessary to be guided by his own moral compass in uncertain situations. We can speculate that Sugihara was more willing to assert his individual view than others around him who preferred to “go along to get along.”

  • “Also, Sugihara was bound to two different codes: He was a sworn representative of the Japanese government, but he was raised in a rural Samurai family. Should he obey his government’s order to not help Jews (and, by extension, comply with his culture’s age-old more not to bring shame on his family by disobeying authority)? Or should he follow the Samurai adage that haunted him, “Even a hunter cannot kill a bird which flies to him for refuge”? When the Japanese government denied repeated requests he made for permission to assist the refugees, Sugihara may have realized that these two codes of behavior were in conflict and that he faced a bright-line ethical test.” (“Franco & Zimbardo”)


How do the setting and conflicts influence the development of my hero?

  • “He attended the University of Rostov-na-Donu, graduating in mathematics, and took correspondence courses in literature at Moscow State University. He fought in World War II, achieving the rank of captain of artillery; in 1945, however, he was arrested for writing a letter in which he criticized Joseph Stalin and spent eight years in prisons and labour camps, after which he spent three more years in enforced exile. Rehabilitated in 1956, he was allowed to settle in Ryazan, in central Russia, where he became a mathematics teacher and began to write.” After being in the labor camps he wrote a book called the The Gulag Archipelago which was about his experiences there. (“Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr”)

  • “In February 1945 he was arrested by the KGB, which found a disguised critical remark on Stalin in Solzhenitsyn’s correspondence with his friend. For about a year Aleksandr was kept at Lubyanka, the central prison in Moscow, until he was transferred to Marfino, a specialized prison near Moscow where physicists and other scientists were forced to carry out secret research work (this experience is described in the novel The First Circle, with its title alluding to Dante’s Inferno). After four years of confinement Solzhenitsyn was sent to a camp for political prisoners in Kazakhstan where he had to work as a miner, a mason, and a caster. There he got rapidly progressing stomach cancer. After the eight-year term of his sentence was over Solzhenitsyn instead of being released was exiled for life. Luckily he underwent ray therapy that cured him at the Tashkent hospital, the events prompting his story Cancer Ward.” (“Alexander Solzhenitsyn”)



How does a hero reflect his/her particular culture and society?

  • Joan of Arc was a French martyr who helped lead 12,000 French soldiers through English territory on July 17, 1429. (“Steven Kreis”) She was able to help her country in the fight against England during the Hundred Years War.

  • “In 1392 the insanity of the French king, Charles VI (1368–1422), had begun the struggle between two factions (rival groups) to control the kingdom, the Burgundians and the Armagnacs. The leader of the Armagnacs, John the Fearless (1371–1419), Duke of Burgundy, finally assumed control, as both sides appealed for help to England.” “The French national heroine Joan of Arc led a troop of French soldiers and served as a temporary focus of French resistance to English occupation in the last phase of the Hundred Years War (1339–1453), a war with England which caused severe hardship in France. Joan of Arc's place in history was finally solidified in the twentieth century when she was declared a saint.” (“Joan of Arc…”)



How does my hero represent his time period and geographical area?

  • Alexandr wanted to get a literary education, but the town that he was raised in couldn’t offer anything to him, and he was unable to move to Moscow because of his sick mother. He instead studied Mathematics at Rostov University. A few days after this, he was enlisted into the war, where because of his poor health, was a truck driver during the winter of 1941-1942. After this because of his math skills, he was transferred to an artillery school, where after a crash course, passed out in November 1942. After this he was put in command of an artillery position finding company, where he worked in the front line until he was arrested in February 1945 in East Prussia. In 1937 Alexandr wrote an essay as a first year student on “The Samsonov Disaster” in East Prussia. (“The Nobel Prize…”)

  • Alexandr was arrested for writing a letter which criticized Joseph Stalin who was the leader of Soviet Russia at the time. He then spent 8 years in jail and in labor camps, thereafter he spent three years in enforced exile. Eventually in 1956, he was allowed to go to Ryazan in central Russia, where he became a math teacher and began to write. During the early 1960’s, there was a loosening of Stalin’s governmental restraints on cultural life, in which Alexandr submitted his short novel One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich in 1962 to the leading Soviet literary periodical “New World”. (“Alexandr Solzhenitsyn”)



How do various cultures reward or recognize their heroes?

  • Heroes are recognized by having monuments or memorials created for them. In England there’s a monument dedicated for the saliors of the Free Franch Naval forces. (“Free French Memorial”)

  • In various countries around the world Tombs of the Unknown were created to honor fallen soldiers whose remains were identifiable after war. This idea originated in Europe after WWI, where Britain was the first country to honor them. (“History of the…”)



What inspired him to do what he did?

  • Alexandr’s arrest caused him to write about the eight years he spent in jail and working in labor camps. “I was "sentenced" in my absence, in accordance with a procedure then frequently applied, after a resolution by the OSO (the Special Committee of the NKVD), to eight years in a detention camp (”Alexandr Solzhenitsyn”).

  • Also, the fact that his works were unable to be freely published caused him to continue and find a way to publish them. “he was denied further official publication of his work, and he resorted to circulating them in the form of samizdat (“self-published”) as illegal literature circulated clandestinely—as well as publishing them abroad.” (“Alexander Solzhenitsyn”)



How did he overcome his struggles?

  • “Solzhenitsyn's period of official favour proved to be short-lived, however. Ideological strictures on cultural activity in the Soviet Union tightened with Nikita Khrushchev's fall from power in 1964, and Solzhenitsyn met first with increasing criticism and then with overt harassment from the authorities when he emerged as an eloquent opponent of repressive government policies. After the publication of a collection of his short stories in 1963, he was denied further official publication of his work, and he resorted to circulating them in the form of samizdat (“self-published”) literature—i.e., as illegal literature circulated clandestinely—as well as publishing them abroad.” (“Alexander Solzhenitsyn”)

  • “I served the first part of my sentence in several correctional work camps of mixed types (this kind of camp is described in the play, The Tenderfoot and the Tramp). In 1946, as a mathematician, I was transferred to the group of scientific research institutes of the MVD-MOB (Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of State Security). I spent the middle period of my sentence in such "SPECIAL PRISONS" (The First Circle). In 1950 I was sent to the newly established "Special Camps" which were intended only for political prisoners. In such a camp in the town of Ekibastuz in Kazakhstan (One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich), I worked as a miner, a bricklayer, and a foundryman. There I contracted a tumour which was operated on, but the condition was not cured (its character was not established until later on).” (“Alexandr Solzhenitsyn”)



How did he show his struggles to others?

  • Alexandr Solzhenitsyn published a book in 1968 called The First Circle which was about his experiences as a mathematician working in a prison research institute. It talks about how the scientists at work for research for the secret police and they have to decide to cooperate with them and stay in the research prison, or refuse their services and be put back into the labor camps. (“Alexandr Solzhenitsyn”)

  • In his book The Gulag Archipelago he talks about how the war with Nazi Germany could have been avoided if the Soviet government has reached a compromise with Hitler. Alexandr thought that the Soviet government and Stalin was worse than Hitler, and he was condemned as a traitor. (“The Stalin society”)



How did his struggle affect others?

  • Alexander was able to publish many of his books abroad. “The following years were marked by the foreign publication of several ambitious novels that secured Solzhenitsyn's international literary reputation. V kruge pervom (1968; The First Circle) was indirectly based on his years spent working in a prison research institute as a mathematician. The book traces the varying responses of scientists at work on research for the secret police as they must decide whether to cooperate with the authorities and thus remain within the research prison or to refuse their services and be thrust back into the brutal conditions of the labour camps.” (“Alexander Solzhenitsyn”) “As early as 1937, as a first-year student, I chose to write a descriptive essay on "The Samsonov Disaster" of 1914 in East Prussia and studied material on this; and in 1945 I myself went to this area (at the time of writing, autumn 1970, the book August 1914 has just been completed).” (“Alexandr Solzhenitsyn”)



What negative impacts caused him to continue what he was doing?

  • Alexandr was arrested in 1945 for writing letters which criticized Joseph Stalin. He then went to jail for eight years and also worked in labor camps. After Nikita Khrushchev’s fall of power in 1964, Alexandr was met with increased criticism and harassment from the authorities when he came out as an eloquent opponent of repressive government policies. After the publication of some of his short stories in 1963, he was denied further official publication of his work, causing him to circulate his works as illegal circulated clandestinely, and publish them abroad. (“Alexandr Solzhenitsyn”)

  • “During all the years until 1961, not only was I convinced that I should never see a single line of mine in print in my lifetime, but, also, I scarcely dared allow any of my close acquaintances to read anything I had written because I feared that this would become known. Finally, at the age of 42, this secret authorship began to wear me down. The most difficult thing of all to bear was that I could not get my works judged by people with literary training. In 1961, after the 22nd Congress of the U.S.S.R. Communist Party and Tvardovsky's speech at this, I decided to emerge and to offer One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.” (“The nobel prize…”)



Works Cited

  • Works Cited

  • "Alexander Solzhenitsyn Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story - Biography.com ." Famous Biographies & TV Shows - Biography.com . N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2012. .

  • Franco, Zeno, and Philip Zimbardo . " The Banality of Heroism | Greater Good." Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2012. .

  • "Free French Memorial, Lyle Hill:: OS grid NS2576 :: Geograph Britain and Ireland - photograph every grid square!." Geograph Britain and Ireland - photograph every grid square!. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Feb. 2012. .

  • "Joan of Arc Biography - life, family, story, death, history, son, information, born, house, time." Encyclopedia of World Biography. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Feb. 2012. .

  • "Joan of Arc, c.1412-1431." The History Guide -- Main. N.p., 3 Aug. 2009. Web. 29 Feb. 2012. .

  • McCutchen, Wilmot. "15 Ancient Greek Heroes from Plutarch's Lives." 15 Ancient Greek Heroes from Plutarch's Lives. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Feb. 2012. .

  • "SHGTUS -- History of the Tomb." Society of the Honor Guard - Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. N.p., 18 June 2008. Web. 29 Feb. 2012. .

  • "Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr Isayevich." The Nobel Prize Internet Archive . N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Feb. 2012. .

  • "Stalin Society." Stalin Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Feb. 2012. .

  • "The Nobel Prize in Literature 1970." Alexandr Solzhenitsyn. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2012. .

  • Zimbardo, Philip. " What Makes a Hero? | Greater Good." Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life. N.p., 18 Jan. 2011. Web. 28 Feb. 2012. .

  • MLA formatting by BibMe.org. Works Cited

  • ARON, LEON. "EBSCOhost: The Cunningly-Inventive Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn." EBSCO Publishing Service Selection Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2012. .

  • "Alexander Solzhenitsyn Alexander Solzhenitsyn Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story - Biography.com ." Famous Biographies & TV Shows - Biography.com . N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2012. .

  • "Alexandr Solzhenitsyn - Autobiography." Nobelprize.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2012. .

  • "EBSCOhost: Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn." EBSCO Publishing Service Selection Page. N.p., 1 Nov. 2011. Web. 10 Feb. 2012. .

  • Jones, Radhika. "EBSCOhost: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn." EBSCO Publishing Service Selection Page. N.p., 18 Aug. 2008. Web. 10 Feb. 2012. .

  • KAUFMAN, MICHAEL T.. "Solzhenitsyn, Literary Giant Who Defied Soviets, Dies at 89 - Obituary (Obit) - NYTimes.com." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. N.p., 4 Aug. 2008. Web. 10 Feb. 2012. .

  • Liukkonen , Petri, and Ari Pesonen. "Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn." www.kirjasto.sci.fi . N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Feb. 2012. .

  • "Russia-InfoCentre :: Alexander Solzhenitsyn Writer :: people." Russia-InfoCentre :: Russia-InfoCentre | Russian News | Facts about Russia | Visitor Services. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2012. .

  • "Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr Isayevich." The Nobel Prize Internet Archive . N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2012. .

  • "Stalin Society." Stalin Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2012. .

  • MLA formatting by BibMe.org.




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