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Myths and Heroes

Problmatique possible:
Is human augmentation really progress?
Elisabeth Buffard

First, lets define myths: originally, a myth is a traditional story about the early history of a
people or explaining a natural or social phenomenon, involving supernatural beings or events.

History was first transmitted orally, and often through stories of heroes, places or
communities. Thats how these stories laid the foundation of collective identities and
sometimes were reduced to popular beliefs or traditions. Each period borrows or modernizes
certain myths or creates entirely new ones to illustrate the aspiration of our society or to bring
answers to interrogations that science fails to figure out.

Myths often revolve around heroes: in mythology or folklore, a hero has superhuman qualities
and is admired for his outstanding achievements. A hero can also be a fictional or real
character who comes out as a role model for the values he embodies and conveys, and is
admired for what he did.

As a result, every society rewrites old stories and creates new ones to build a collective
identity, with new heroes, real or imaginary, embodying the values and preoccupations of the
time, which become popular culture.

Watch this video for inspiration :

Practice your vocabulary

Oral comprehension

Watch and listen to this video: What makes a hero and explain the heros journey
Transcript : What makes a hero by Matthew Winkler

'What do Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen, and Frodo, all have in common with the heroes of
ancient myths?

What if I told you they're all a variance of the same hero. Do You believe that?

Joseph Campbell did! He studied myth from all over the world and published a book called
The Hero With The Thousands Faces retelling dozens of stories and explaining how each
represents the monomyth or hero's journey.

So what is a hero's journey? Think of it as a cycle. The journey begins and ends in the hero's
ordinary world. But the quest passes through an unfamiliar special world. Along the way
there are some key events. Think about your favourite book or movie, does it follow this

Status Quo, that's where we start.

one o'clock : call to adventure the hero receives a mysterious message an invitation, a

2 o'clock ; assistance the hero needs some help probably from someone older, wiser

3 o'clock ; departure The hero crosses the threshold from his normal, safe home and
enters the special world and adventure. Were not in Kansas anymore.

4 o'clock ; trials being a hero is hard work. The hero solves a riddle, slays a monster,
escape from a trap.

5 o'clock ; approach it's time to face the biggest ordeal, the hero's worst fear.

6 o'clock ; crisis this is the hero's darkest hour. He faces death, he possibly even dies,
only to be reborn.

7 o'clock ; treasure as a result the hero claims some treasure, special recognition, a

8 oclock ; result this can vary between stories; do the monsters bow down before the
hero or do they chase him as he flees from this special world.

9 o'clock ; return after all that adventure, the hero returns to his ordinary world.

10 o'clock ; new life this quest has changed the hero. It has outgrown his old life.

11 o'clock ; resolution all the tangled plotlines get straightened out

12 o'clock ; Status Quo but upgraded to a new level.

Nothing is quite the same once you're a hero.

Many popular books and movies follow this ancient formula pretty closely. But let see how well
the Hunger Games fits the hero's journey template. When does Katnis Everdeen hear call to
adventure which gives the story movie? When her sister's name is called from the lottery. How
about assistance? Is anyone going to help her in her adventure? Haymitch. What about
departure? Does she leave her ordinary world? She gets on a train to the capital.

OK. So you get the idea!

What do you have in common with Harry Potter, Katnis Everdeen and Frodo?

Well, you're human just like them!

The hero's journey myth exists in all human cultures and keeps being updated because we
humans reflect on our world through symbolic stories of our own lives. You leave your comfort
zone, have an experience that transforms you and then you recover and do it again. You don't
literally slay dragons or fight Voldemort but you face problems just as scary.

Joseph Campbell said In the cave you fear to enter, lies the treasure you seek.

What is the symbolic cave you fear to enter? Audition for the school play, baseball try-outs,
love ?

Watch for this formula in books, movies and TV shows you come across, you will certainly see
it again. But also be sensitive to it in your own life; listen for your call to adventure, accept the
challenge, conquer your fear and claim the treasure you seek and then do it all over again.
Now watch this other video and compare the hero and the anti-hero

Transcript :

Literary critic Northorp Frye once observed that in our primitive days, our literary heroes
were, well, nearly gods. And as civilization advanced they came down the mountain of the
gods, so to speak, and became more human, more flawed, less heroic. From the divine heroes
like Hercules, down the mountain below the miraculous but mortal heroes such as Beowulf,
the great leaders such as King Arthur and the great but flawed heroes like Macbeth or
Othello, below even the unlikely but eventual heroes such as Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker or
Hiccup, until we reached the bottom and meet the anti-hero.
Contrary to the sound, the anti-hero is not the villain, not the antagonist. The anti-hero is
actually the main character in some contemporary works of literature: Guy Montag in
Fahrenheit 451, Winston Smith in 1984, who unwittingly ends up challenging those in
power, that is those who abuse their power to brainwash the populace to believe that the ills of
society have been eliminated. Ideally, those who challenge the establishment should be wise,
confident, brave, physically strong, with a type of charisma that inspires followers. The anti-
hero, however, at best, demonstrates a few underdeveloped traits, at worst, he is totally inept.
The story of the anti-hero usually unfolds something like this: the anti-hero initially conforms,
ignorantly accepting the established views, a typical, unquestioning, brainwashed member of
society. The anti-hero struggles to conform all the while starting to object, perhaps finding
other outsiders with whom to voice his questions and naively, unwisely, sharing those
questions with an authority figure. The anti-hero openly challenges society and tries to fight
against the lies and tactics used to oppress the populace. This step for the anti-hero is seldom
a matter of brave, wise and heroic opposition. Maybe the anti-hero fights and succeeds in
destroying the impressive government with a lot of impossible luck. Perhaps he or she runs
away, escapes to fight another day. All too often though, the anti-hero is killed or brainwashed
to return to conformity with the masses. No heroic triumph here, no brave individuals
standing up against impersonal institutions of a modern world, inspiring others to fight or
resourcefully outwitting and outgunning the massive army of the evil empire.
Our storytelling ancestors calmed our fears of powerlessness by giving us Hercules and other
heroes strong enough to fight off the demons and monsters that we suspected haunted the
night beyond our campfires. But eventually we realize the monsters did not lie out there, they
reside inside of us: Beowulfs greatest enemy was mortality, Othellos jealousy, Hiccups self-
doubt and in the tales of the ineffectual antihero, in the
stories of Guy Montag and Winston Smith, lie the warnings of
contemporary storytellers playing on very primitive fears that
we are not strong enough to defeat the monsters. Only this
time not the monsters chased away by the campfire, but the
very monsters who built the campfire in the first place.

Give examples of fictitious heroes and explain how they match this pattern.
Explain the main difference between fictitious heroes and real-life heroes

A life lesson from a volunteer firefighter

Watch this talk and explain what this man's message is about.

Transcript :

Back in New York, I am the head of development for a non-profit called Robin Hood. When I'm
not fighting poverty, I'm fighting fires as the assistant captain of a volunteer fire company.
Now in our town, where the volunteers supplement a highly skilled career staff, you have to
get to the fire scene pretty early to get in on any action.

I remember my first fire. I was the second volunteer on the scene, so there was a pretty good
chance I was going to get in. But still it was a real footrace against the other volunteers to get
to the captain in charge to find out what our assignments would be. When I found the captain,
he was having a very engaging conversation with the homeowner, who was surely having one
of the worst days of her life. Here it was, the middle of the night, she was standing outside in
the pouring rain, under an umbrella, in her pajamas, barefoot, while her house was in flames.

The other volunteer who had arrived just before me let's call him Lex Luther (Laughter)
got to the captain first and was asked to go inside and save the homeowner's dog. The dog! I
was stunned with jealousy. Here was some lawyer or money manager who, for the rest of his
life, gets to tell people that he went into a burning building to save a living creature, just
because he beat me by five seconds. Well, I was next. The captain waved me over. He said,
"Bezos, I need you to go into the house. I need you to go upstairs, past the fire, and I need you
to get this woman a pair of shoes." (Laughter) I swear. So, not exactly what I was hoping for,
but off I went up the stairs, down the hall, past the 'real' firefighters, who were pretty much
done putting out the fire at this point, into the master bedroom to get a pair of shoes.

Now I know what you're thinking, but I'm no hero. (Laughter) I carried my payload back
downstairs where I met my nemesis and the precious dog by the front door. We took our
treasures outside to the homeowner, where, not surprisingly, his received much more
attention than did mine. A few weeks later, the department received a letter from the
homeowner thanking us for the valiant effort displayed in saving her home. The act of
kindness she noted above all others: someone had even gotten her a pair of shoes.

In both my vocation at Robin Hood and my avocation as a volunteer firefighter, I am witness

to acts of generosity and kindness on a monumental scale, but I'm also witness to acts of grace
and courage on an individual basis. And you know what I've learned? They all matter. So as I
look around this room at people who either have achieved, or are on their way to achieving,
remarkable levels of success, I would offer this reminder: don't wait. Don't wait until you make
your first million to make a difference in somebody's life. If you have something to give, give it
now. Serve food at a soup kitchen. Clean up a neighborhood park. Be a mentor.

Not every day is going to offer us a chance to save somebody's life, but every day offers us an
opportunity to affect one. So get in the game. Save the shoes.
Choose your hero and make an audio recording to introduce him/her and justify your choice.
You can get inspiration from the My Hero Project website

Oral comprehension test

Interview with a comic book fan

Transcript :

- So what was your favourite comic book as a child?

- When I was a kid, the first comic book I ever got was the Justice League and that had like all
the heroes in it but my favourite hero was the Green Lantern. And I think the reason why was
he could make anything he wanted using his power ring. You know, Superman could sort of do
anything but Green Lantern, anything he could imagine, he could just create so if he wanted
to hit you over the head with the giant hammer, he could do that whereas Superman would
have to first go find giant hammer to hit you with. So I think the fact that anything you could
imagine he could make happen with his power ring really appealed to me.
- Did you follow of the stories in installments?
- When I was a kid, I was absolutely eager. I would a ride my bicycle to the store every week
and get the new comics. There weren't a lot of comic book specialty stores back then so you
just had to get them down at, like, the newsstand and, um, absolutely! I always eagerly
awaited each issue and I would read each comic and then, you know, had that cliffhanger
ending and wait for the next issue. I never had enough patience to let them add up and read
them in one big pile.


Kick-Ass superheroes 'are real people' and 'can die'

BBC Newsbeat, 23 March 2010
Dave Lizewski, played by 19-year-old Brit Aaron Johnson, is the ordinary New York teenager
who buys a wetsuit from the internet to become the latest Hollywood superhero Kick-Ass. He
thinks that comic books have it wrong and that people don't need a power to be a superhero.

The film of the same name originally started life as a comic book: "That's where it comes
from", explains Aaron Johnson. "There's a mad comic book following in America. We wanted to
make this one as true to the comic book as possible."

But Johnson says the characters are a long way from the
invincibility of Superman. He said: "The whole concept of it is
people dressing up as real superheroes and going out and
fighting crime. These kids get a really hard punch or bullet to
the chest they can die. It's real and you can relate to it."

Lizweski hits the streets of New York to fight crime but soon has competition in the form of
father-daughter crime fighting duo, Hit Girl & Big Daddy (played by Nicolas Cage).

"Working with Nicolas Cage was inspirational," says the actor.

"The guy brings his character to life - way off the page. He's bold, out there, pretty wild."

Chloe Grace Moretz plays Cage's daughter, Hit Girl. She's one of the toughest characters in
the movie and the 13-year-old says she loved getting involved with all the rough and tumble.
She said: "I learnt how to shoot the guns, how to do martial arts, how to throw knives... doing
all the action was so, so fun. I loved it!"

Hit Girl aside, does Moretz have any super hero aspirations? "If I could be another superhero
I'd be Batman," she admitted. "He's a lot like Hit Girl in a way. They both don't have powers
but they're vigilantes and they fight crime. They're a lot alike."

Every superhero needs an arch-enemy and the unlikely saviours in Kick-Ass join forces to
battle Mafia boss Frank D'Amico and his son Chris, aka Red Mist. Chris Mintz-Plasse who
plays the character reckons the movie isn't likely to inspire any real life vigilante superheroes,
"I think they'd be silly. In the movie he first gets stabbed and gets put in a coma for a couple of
weeks. That's not a good sign. I don't think anyone's going to see the movie and say, 'I want to
be a superhero after this!'"

To complete your reading, watch the movie trailer!

NCIS extract real Life Super Heroes

Watch this extract from an NCIS episode and explain the matter discussed by the characters.


Read the following text, then find out more about the Real Life Super Heroes Project here :

Red Justice, left, and Direction Man, so-called real-life superheroes, on patrol in Times Square.
Credit Cary Conover for The New York Times

And this news report :

Dressed for Halloween? No, to Clean Up Times Sq.

The New York Times, October 29, 2007

She calls herself Street Hero, says she is a former prostitute, knows martial arts and takes to the citys
underbelly to protect women who work the streets. Her uniform includes a black eye mask, a black bustier
and black knee-high boots.

Then there is Red Justice, a substitute teacher from Woodside, Queens, who wears red boxer briefs over
jeans, a red cape made from an old T-shirt and a sock with eyeholes to mask his identity. He trolls the
subways encouraging young people to give their seats to those who need them more.

They call themselves real-life superheroes, and they were just a few of the do-gooders who gathered near
Times Square yesterday for what was billed as the first meeting of a group called Superheroes Anonymous.
They all declined to give their real names because they said they wanted to protect their identities.

The meeting was part news conference, part documentary film shoot and part patrol duty. There were locals
and out-of-towners, most were in uniform (dont dare call them costumes) and all said they were serious
about helping make their respective communities cleaner, safer and kinder places.

The 13 or so who gathered yesterday are part of a growing community of activists across the country and
beyond who use the Internet to communicate.

Chaim Lazaros, 23, a student at Columbia University and an independent filmmaker, co-founded
Superheroes Anonymous along with Ben Goldman to bring to New York as many superheroes as he could
for interviews and to record them for a documentary he is making about the movement.

This is a serious job, Mr. Lazaros said. We are out in the streets fighting crime in a legal way. But most
of all we are fighting the worst crime of all, apathy.

Were not these crazy people, said one man, Geist, who traveled to New York from Minnesota. We just
have an unorthodox approach to doing good.

The Super is a superintendent of a building in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, who fixes faucets and does
electrical work for people in need. Yesterday, he wore a red cape, a yellow shirt, green suspenders and green
tights under black soccer shorts.

The Super, who also declined to give his real name, said he took on the alter ego after a friend was hurt by
debris that had fallen from scaffolding. I said to myself, if we have to wait around for the city or the mayor
to fix everything wrong or dangerous in this city, itll never get done, the Super said.

He acknowledged that his self-proclaimed role as well as what he wears has drawn derision.

He said he had been laughed at, stared at, egged and stoned. Once, he said, someone in a high-rise apartment
building threw a frozen piece of meat at him.

I dont have many friends, he said. A lot of real-life superheroes stumble along the way. And part of it
can definitely make you feel isolated, like nobody understands you.
Myths : American Thanksgiving
Compare these two famous paintings representing the first Thanksgiving.

Explain how the represent two different visions of the same historical event.
(hint: focus on how the relationship between the Pilgrims and the Indians is depicted).
You can know more about the first Thanksgiving and the Pilgrim Fathers with these activities :

also with this documentary
British founding myths:

King Arthur
Watch this trailer, then read the transcript and sum it up:


Trailer voiceover : For centuries, historians believed that the tale of King Arthur and his
knight was only a legend, but the myth was based on a real herowho lived 1600 years ago.
One of Britains most important founding myths is King Arthur who was a king several
hundred years ago.
He became king because he pulled a sword from a stone which had been stuck there for
several years.
He was king of Camelot and he was a warrior king that was known for being very strong and
it was him that expelled the Saxons from Britain.
His weakness, the flaw in his armour, as it were, was his wife Guinevere who had an affair
with one of his knights, Lancelot.
The knights were supposed to follow a code of honour, which meant being chaste and fighting
evil at all cost.
King Arthur was also very strong because, for example, he had a round table rather than a
rectangular table, which meant that everyone was equal and no one was at the head of this
table. In this way, he sort of embodies equality and fairness and strength. He also embodies
the bridge between paganism and Christianity in British history and British religion, because
he was advised by a wizard called Merlin, who represents paganism, and his wife was very
involved with Christianity, Guinevere. And so he bridged that gap and he sort of set the
standard for what a king should be and filled what chivalry should be, and for the royal family
in the future.

The Arthurian Legend

Watch and listen to this extract from a documentary, explain how the story became so popular.

You can watch the full documentary here : and read the summary here

Then you can fill in this Timeline to better understand the power of this narrative :

Then know more here :

King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

Debunking the Myth

Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Watch this passage, then read the transcript here:
What do British fiction characters tell us about Britishness?

Britishness is a very tricky concept to define. If fish and ships, black cabs and tea are
definitely British icons that everybody agrees on, people find it hard to find what the
characteristics of British identity really are.

An easier approach is to look at some British fiction characters reflecting Britishness around
the world because they have becomepart of British culture and folklore. As a result, they
embody a certain reflection of a national identity.

Observe them and make your own opinion.

Alice in Wonderland

o 25 things you never knew about Alice in Wonderland/

o About the book and Turning the Pages at the British Library

o About the characters

o Alice in Wonderland: Stuff and nonsense | LearnEnglishTeens | British Council

James Bond / Johnny English

You can also get some help with this article: Define Britishness? It's like painting wind

James Bond

Watch this short BBC report about James Bond and his Britishness:

You will also watch this video from the 2012 Olympics:
Now compare to this Daily Mail article:

Bond's lost his Britishness, says John Cleese:

Actor who appeared in two 007 films claims subtle humour has been abandoned to secure 'big money'

Veteran actor John Cleese has criticised the later Bond movies for their over-long action sequences and for
sacrificing their British flavour to secure big money from Asia.

The 74-year-old Monty Python actor starred in two 007 movies - The World Is Not Enough, in 1999, and
three years later in Die Another Day.

But he has now hinted that he was dropped from his role as gadget inventor Q, in the long-running British
franchise, partly because film bosses wanted to please audiences in Asia.

He suggested that the spy movies, which have enjoyed renewed success with Daniel Craig in the lead role,
had dispensed with their subtle British sense of humour.

I did two James Bond movies and then I believe that they decided that the tone they needed was that of the
Bourne action movies, which are very gritty and humourless, he told Radio Times, of the thriller spy films
starring Matt Damon which have been a box office and critical hit.

Also the big money was coming from Asia, from the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, where the audiences
go to watch the action sequences, and that's why in my opinion the action sequences go on for too long, and
it's a fundamental flaw.

He added: The audiences in Asia are not going for the subtle British humour or the class jokes.

Cleese's character did not appear in the recent Casino Royale or Quantum of Solace but was resurrected by
Ben Whishaw in Skyfall in 2012.

The Daily Mail, 24 June 2014

Debunking the Myth

Johnny English is a spoof of James Bond Movie, and typical of British humour.

Read this passage from this Daily Mail article:

The return of Johnny English: Rowan Atkinson explains all

Of all his guises, in person Rowan Atkinson appears to be most like Johnny English

I loved the Bond movies as a child, and I still do, confesses Atkinson.

They are hugely inspiring a wonderful combination of glamour and adventure. The books were written in
the Fifties and were all about Britain as a fading power but they had this brilliant secret agent who could
make Britain look great again.

The Cold War was a very dominant feature of the books, and that doesnt exist any more. The character
doesnt really fit the times and the idea that a member of the British intelligence would be driving a Rolls-
Royce Phantom in this day and age or even an Aston Martin is patently ludicrous.

'We go along with the idea because that was the template that Ian Fleming set and we update it. Even though
we are not a Bond or a Bourne movie, we are the comic equivalent. We rely on peoples familiarity with, and
liking for, that world the world of espionage.

Atkinson agrees his most brilliant comic creations Blackadder, Mr Bean and now Johnny English all
share an inherent Englishness.

The Daily Mail, 17 September 2011

Now you can have a look at this presentation
Exemple de problmatique : Britishness

transcript :

I'm going to talk about the notion of myths and heroes. First, I would like to note that myths and heroes
underpin the collective identity of a society. That's why we mainly talk about British characters and
especially about Britishness.
Most British characters relate to Britishness in a certain way and, since they've become popular figures,
these characters reflect the defining characteristics of Britishness.

The most famous British characters can be seen as Heroes since they do, in fact, represent a part of the
British popular culture. They give outsiders a glance at what defines Britishness. To what extent are these
British characters reminiscent of Britishness? To begin with, Ill try to identify the essence of Britishness
and the stereotypes associated with it. Then, Ill show that the British rise above those clichs by asserting
their cultural identity and exposing their way of life to the outside world.

So first of all, I want to define Britishness. Although defined on Wikipedia as 'a term referring to a sense of
national identity of the British people and common culture of the United Kingdom' there is no single
definition. Nonetheless, British characters can define and embody Britishness, because Brits have grown up
and have developed their identity through the way of life of these characters. For instance, in the novel Alice
in Wonderland written by Lewis Caroll, certain characters are present who embody Britishness. First, the
Mad Hatter appears as the typical Englishman: he's very welcoming to Alice, he drinks tea all day, he has an
unusual fashion sense and he seems very eccentric [is this the typical englishman though??]. Then there is
the white rabbit, who is always running out of time since he constantly looks at his clock. Finally, Alice
represents the politeness and courtesy of British people. I have chosen these examples to point out that the
stereotypes of the 19th century linger on today. This is why weve (who?) studied cartoon illustrations from
the How to Be British collection created in 2004. Included are classic stereotypes like British politeness and
love for dogs. One can also observe that they deem English the only useful language. Accordingly, they do
not want to learn any other language. One can deduce that these stereotypes inform the concept of

Nonetheless, contemporary British people manage to overcome such clichs thanks to their self-mockery.
For instance, the How to be British collection aims to make fun of British stereotypes. But the most
representative example of this self-mockery is the film Johnny English. Its a classic with a twist. Johnny
English mixes the character of James Bond with the humour of Mr. Bean. All of this serves to debunk the
myth that British people are stuffy and serious, and replace it with an image of them that is lighter: less strict
or rigid. The British humour used is far from being refined and includes visual gags, faces and slapstick. So
British people can defy their reputation for stuffiness and indeed even be funny. However, the British also
use fictional characters to show us how special they are. For example, the most brilliant and famous
detective, Sherlock Holmes, illustrates singular aspects of Britishness. Indeed, in the text that weve studied,
he embodies intelligence but also courage and politeness. As for his sidekick Watson, he epitomizes altruism
and loyalty because when Sherlock is indisposed, Watson wants to stay with him. So we have seen that
despite all the stereotypes associated with British people, they keep their cultural identity and expose the
outside world to those traits which make them special.
In conclusion, Britains fictional characters mirror certain aspects of real-life British culture. It is impossible
to define all the aspects of Britishness because, like all identities, it is evolving and re-forming with every
moment. Moreover, it spreads beyond physical borders, especially in this age of mass media. As far as Im
concerned, I think that my entire generation has absorbed Britishness to some extent, because we have
grown up with characters like Harry Potter and Johnny English. My family were huge fans of Mr. Bean. But
personally, Ive never liked imaginary worlds or video gags. I prefer logic.

Exemple de problmatique :
How heroes inspire us to outgrow
So, Im going to talk about myths and heroes.

First, lets define myths: history was first transmitted orally, and often through stories
of heroes, places or communities. Originally, those stories explained the origins of
humanity or embodied a characteristic of human nature. Thats how they laid the
foundation of collective identities and sometimes were reduced to popular beliefs or

As a result, at each period, every society rewrites old stories and creates new one.
They feature new heroes, real or imaginary, to illustrate the values and
preoccupations of the time or to bring answers to interrogations that science fails to

Then, myths often revolve around heroes: a hero can be a fictional or real character
who comes out as a role model for the values he conveys, and is admired for what he
did. While each civilization or nation reinvents and updates these myths, new myths
with new heroes, real or imaginary, keep being created in popular culture.

So now I want to focus on heroes: I have outlined a hero as a mythological figure, a

person who is admired for his or her achievements, and may be a role model or an
icon. I will examine how heroes inspire us to outgrow ourselves.

In class, we watched a video. What makes a hero, presenting the heros journey or
monomyth, established by Joseph Campbell. The monomyth is a basic pattern found
in many narratives around the world: a hero becomes a hero by accepting a call to
adventure, getting some supernatural help and facing an ordeal, he fights and wins,
reaches his goals, gets the prize and goes back to his ordinary life. This pattern is
obvious in many Hollywood movies, such as Star Wars, but it was already present in
old myths like Robin Hood.

These fiction heroes are easy to identify with because they seem so normal between
adventures. A hero like Harry Potter faces all the problems of a growing school kid, but
he gets to do so in a fantastic environment where he can fight his enemies with magic
and gets stronger and better with each adventure. When he finally wins the final
battle, he gets married and has a family, like an ordinary human being.

In a sense, the symbolic stories with their fictional heroes inspire us to accept
challenges, and conquer our fears to reach our goals.

Then we must also consider real-life heroes: even though theyre not flawless, they
are hailed by society as a whole, sometimes around the world, like Kennedy, Martin
Luther King or Nelson Mandela, for the changes they brought to society. Malala
Yousafsai became famous as the girl who survived the Talibans. People could have
forgotten her, but she used her unexpected fame to campaign in favour of childrens
education, and got the Nobel prize, and became a role model for many people,
especially girls.

However, for many people, the real heroes are people closer to them. Theyre the
policemen, firefighters, nurses, teachers, who dedicate their lives to the benefit of
others. We studied the talk of a volunteer fireman, Mark Bezos, who was disappointed
with his first mission, because he just had to recover some shoes for a woman who
had just escaped from a fire; but later he found out how important that petty but risky
action had been for the woman and the impact the little deeds could have when they
all add up.

Sometimes, inspiration can take a strange turn: in the USA, there are some people
calling themselves real-life heroes, and they inspired the film Kickass. Like the hero of
the film, they create their persona and their costume, and roam the streets and the
subway as neighbourhood do-gooders. But their goal is again to have an impact and
improve their society, to make their city a better place for everyone.

Finally, I would conclude that a society needs heroes to set collective values by
providing people with role models, but people also create and choose their own
heroes basing themselves on values that are closer to them and far more universal,
especially in our day and age with globalization spreading ideas, good and bad,
thanks to the media and the internet, which could lead us to talk about the other
notions of our curriculum.