A hero is a fictional character or an actual real person who, against all odds, combats insurmountable odds through incredible feats of courage, ingenuity, or sheer strength. Like many previously only gender-specific words, hero is also often used to describe any gender, although hero only applies to girls. In popular culture, there are countless examples of heroic men and women, most notably in comic books, movies, television shows, and video games. And while it is almost always the boys who are depicted as being great heroes, girls can be heroes too, especially if they are raised by their mothers with the values of bravery and self-confidence that hero displays.
What, then, is it about boys who are perceived as being great heroes? There are a variety of answers to this question, but some of the most common are as follows. Perhaps, the most prevalent reason why children like to see hero figures as role models is because the hero inspires children to be tough and to overcome obstacles. In short, children like to identify with the hero so that they will become strong and successful as well. This is especially true of boys, who, as they grow into adults, come to appreciate the kind of success that comes from accomplishing great feats and not just surviving.
It is also the case that hero characters give children a feel for risk-taking, which they then take on themselves. All great characters, after all, have one thing in common: they are adventurers. And perhaps this is why so many parents encourage their little ones to imitate their heroes. After all, wouldn’t you like to be just as bold as your favorite hero?
But while heroes can provide children with role models, what do not like about certain hero characters can also be troublesome for young readers. For one thing, some heroes are too “perfect” or too powerful to ever be an everyday role model. Other than having superpowers, most modern heroes seem to lack flaws or insecurities. While this may appeal to some, it is not a very appealing quality for most readers.
Still, there are also some weaknesses inherent in some heroes that make them more intriguing. For example, villains can sometimes be too cool. When a hero falls to the wayside, some readers may find the hero more interesting. This can cause heroisms to often clash between the good guy and the bad guy, causing sometimes interesting dilemmas for the hero. It can also make for a more dramatic hero’s journey, as some stories rely more on the psychological elements of a hero’s personality than on physical capabilities.
Finally, there are some truly bad guys in superhero lives, and sometimes a hero must choose to put himself between these bad guys and the rest of the world. In rare cases, however, the hero can fall victim to his own power and become a super villain. In such cases, the hero must display the ability to rise above their personal losses to do what is right. Whether a hero should use their powers for good or evil is up to the reader and the character’s definition.