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The Idea of a Hero in the Fiction of Barry Hannah

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    The construct of a hero and the features that one individual feels are embodied by a hero are explored in the short narrative “ Ride, Fly, Penetrate, Loiter ” by Barry Hannah. Everyone wants to be a hero, but in a world few are. There are many people who consciously and unconsciously sabotage their efforts to go a hero. Ned Maximus, the supporter in Hannah’s narrative is merely such a individual. Ned states that he “ wants some hero for a brother ” ( page 36 ). Hannah has definite thoughts of the manner a hero should move and communicates these through Ned. Ned, on the other manus, seems to move in a mode contrary to these thoughts.

    Ned believes that a hero should ne’er lie, but should never be true. In being an honest individual a true hero should be appalled by shams and frauds. Ned, a rummy would wish to believe that he is true but reveals himself as a prevaricator when he states “ I have been sober of all time since. I have merely told a prevarication ” ( page 42 ). He is so a prevaricator; hence, harmonizing to his ain definition he is non a hero.

    In his thesis on the qualities of a hero, Ned references that a true hero could perchance be a author and he, Ned is a author. In “ Ride, Fly, Penetrate, Loiter ” Ned is stabbed in the oculus by an familiarity, Billy Six Fingers. Since this incident Ned insists that he can “ see things more clearly through his one good oculus ” ( page 37 ). From this lucidity Ned states that “ I will compose some times and my castanetss will ache ” ( Page 38 ). Ned insists that he now writes with a passion that he ne’er had before he was able to see things more clearly. He asserts that he writes from inspiration, from what he observes and comprehends in his universe. This inspiration has occurred because of the lucidity with which he now views things.

    Another heroic quality is the ability to love and to put person else ’ s demands and diethylstilbestrols angers above one’s ain. The writer notes this when Ned states that “I drank and smiled and tried to love, desiring some hero for a brother, person who would assail the bosom of the dark with me” ( Page 36 ). Ned feels that he is capable of the love that a hero should possess but in actuality he does non possess this ability to love or put a person else’s desires above his ain. Through Ned, Hannah asserts that the love of a hero should be pure and from the bosom. Ned does non possess this trait and likely ne’er will.

    Harmonizing to both the writer and Ned, a hero is sober and virtuous. Ned surely is non sober, he is drunk throughout most of the narrative and demonstrates his demand of intoxicant repeatedly. An illustration of this is seen at the infirmary, “ I remember desiring a drink awfully in the exigency room. I had the shakes. ” ( Page 37 ). Ned’s need for a drink and experiencing of the shingles demonstrates his dependance on intoxicant and his inability to stay sober. Webster’s definition of an individual who is virtuous is one that is chaste and unsloped. Ned is neither chaste nor unsloped; he talks about people being bad when he himself is non. He fires a gun into the dark after being stabbed in the oculus. This is nonsomething that a hero would make.

    Harmonizing to Hannah, a hero possesses the qualities of honestness, soberness, ability to love, virtue, and is perchance being an author. Ned Maximus fails to integrate these qualities into his ain character, even though he wishes that he could hold these qualities and be a true hero. Ned would hold to do major alterations in his attitudes towards people and his intervention of them. Since this is improbable to go on, Ned Maximus will ne’er be a shining illustration of a hero as described by Barry Hannah.

    1.  Hannah, Barry. “ Ride, Fly, Penetrate, Loiter. ” Captain Maximus. New York: Penguin Books, 1985.
    2. The New American Webster Handy College Dictionary. New York: Penguin Books, 1995.

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