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Notion of Myths and Heroes (Thanksgiving, The downfall of Oscar Pistorius, The mural of Mr.Brainwash)

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        I'm going to talk about the concept of myths and heroes. First of all, I would like to give a definition of this notion. A myth is a story based on tradition, it can be fictonnal or real. He is considered as a sacred tales because he gives explanation about the creation of the world, it's like a guide. Myth explains the events that are at the origin of the world and man's experience, but also of the society in which we live. Furthermore, it answers questions and allows a society to feel at peace with itself.

The first definition of the hero is a legendary or mythological character whose remarkable courage allows him to perform feats, to triumphs over obstacles. He is also a person admired for his courage, achievements and qualities. There are for instance heroes in fictional stories. There is also another category of heroes: in the history some people have also demonstrated exceptional bravery, which raised them to the rank of heroes.

        In order to illustrate this notion, I have chosen 3 documents that we studied in class: a picture of a mural painting by Mr. Brainwash representing Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and Barack Obama… Other pictures of Oscar Pistorius celebrating his victory during a sprint and the other during a trial. Finally the last document is a text “The real story of thanksgiving” by Susan Bates.

        The reason why I have chosen these 3 documents is that, to my mind, they seem to best illustrate this problematic: What have myths and heroes brought to our societies?

We will see in the first part thanks to the picture of the mural that some heroes what has changed the course of history. Then in a second part with the example of Oscar Pistorius. We will see that the status of some other heroes can quickly deteriorate as long as they are still alive. And finally in the last part, that sometimes the building of a nation is based on a lie with the myth of Thanksgiving.

        This first document is a mural, an artwork by Mr. Brainwash a French artist. And it deals with the question of the fight of segregation. It was painting in a Street of Los Angeles and its represents Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and Barack Obama, portrayed standing next to each other. On the left side of the wall, we can read a text, directly referring to these figures. The text underlines how related these three characters are and translate the evolution of Afro-Americans in the American Society. The artist argues that this 3 icons embody symbols, for example, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King represent the symbol of the struggle against the racial segregation and Barack Obama the symbol of American Democracy and the dream come true of Martin Luther King, becoming the first black president in 2008. Moreover, Mr. Brainwash through this artwork tries to remind us of the importance of these characters. Rosa Parks embody the evolution of Afro-Americans rights since 1950's when she was arrested because she refused to give up her seat to a white person in a bus. And Martin Luther King was the leader of Civil Rights Movement. He delivered a famous speech “I have a dream” about the freedom of the Negro slaves in 1963. These black icons established peace and equality in the United States, whereas they were considered slaves by the Americans. They managed to change the course of history.  

        We can see that this document is related specifically with the notion of heroes. Because Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King this historical figures sacrificed their lives to help the black community fight segregation. They dedicated their time to giving hope and dream to Black Community. Furthermore, Barack Obama is also a hero because it illustrates the gathering of people on the values of equality and democracy. As the saying goes: “The harder the fight, the greater the victory”…


        The 2nd document is a comparison of two photos of Oscar Pistorius a South African athlete known for his athletic prowess with his disability because he run on blades and became the first athlete to compete in the Olympics Games against able-body. This document deals with the question of the downfall of this former hero. Indeed, the comparison of the behavior of Oscar Pistorius in these two photos reflects his heroism and his fall. In this 2 photos the athlete is not the same character. On the one hand we have this famous image of the real hero seen by the society, a disabled man who manages to cross the finish line during a sprint as if he were an athlete like all the others. Moreover he doesn't like a human but like a superhero, he looks strong and powerful in this first photo. However in the 2nd one during the trial because of the murder of his girlfriend he is bowing like a weak and a fragile animal and surely miserable and shameful.


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