What is a hero?
The person that does the right thing because it comes naturally to them? Or the person to whom that right thing does not come naturally--but does it anyway?
|(Clarification: definition #2 is not in dispute. Not in this post, anyway.)|
But tradition doesn't seem to be big with the 2014 project writers. Welcome to another conversation with the authors.
|Stephen V. Ramey|
GUILIE: And an antihero, then, is--
STEPHEN: Is one who selfishly takes from another to feed his or her own wants. My main character, Stephen, is--
GUILIE: Is your 2014 story autobiographical?
STEPHEN: [pleads the fifth, clears throat] Stephen is both heroic and anti-heroic. By his thinking he--well, he does what he eventually does (no, no further comment at this time) in order to protect his wife from the consequences of his disease. But the objective truth is that their marriage has been unsatisfying to him for years, and the disease becomes an excuse for him to selfishly pull away and engage in a quixotic adventure that allows him to persist in denial while aggrandizing his sense of self. Is he a flawed hero? An antihero? I think it depends on your perspective.
GAY DEGANI: My favorite heroes are always flawed. I cannot get behind anyone who does everything right because that's just not human nature. I'd say the iconic hero for me is Bill Murray in Stripes, in Ghostbusters, in Groundhog Day. That guy!
GAY: This is a human being with flaws. Perhaps that is an anti-hero. Or perhaps it has to do with the level of flaws. Maybe I need to go look up definitions. [leaves, returns] Okay. Stooping to be quick, here's what I found at Wikipedia:
"The antihero or antiheroine [...] lacks the traditional heroic qualities such as idealism, courage, nobility, fortitude, moral goodness, and altruism. Whereas the classical hero is larger than life, antiheroes are typically inferior to the reader in intelligence, dynamism or social purpose."By this definition, Bill Murray would be an antihero and Atticus Finch (one of my absolute favorite characters) would be a hero.
GUILIE: I love Atticus Finch! And characters with flaws win me over, too, more than perfect people. What's there to admire in perfection? It's the struggle, the striving, that forges character, no?
GUILIE: Not even if he recognized the twistedness of his psyche, if he were trying to overcome it? I'm thinking of that movie with Kevin Bacon, can't remember the name, but he's also a pedophile.
SUSAN: No. In real life pedophiles never reform. It's accepted in the psychology literature. It's an addiction of sorts in their character.
MICHAEL WEBB: Mark Hamilton is a flawed hero. He's not famous, but he's at a level where diehard baseball fans, and certainly fans in whatever city he plays for, know his name. He's lauded as an athletic hero, but he behaves less than perfectly when--well, when certain things happen.
GUILIE: What things? Is he going to--?
MICHAEL: No spoilers!
GUILIE: He is, isn't he? But why? I just--okay, sorry. I said sorry. Go on. I'll shut up.
MICHAEL: So Mark's trying, but he seems to be susceptible to taking the easy way out. (I'm not at all thrilled with what that says about me as an author.)
MATT POTTER: Grigor the therapist (and Morgana's ex-husband) thinks he's a hero, helping people and diving into the deepest part of their psyches. But, really, he's just a self-serving shit.
GUILIE: No redeeming qualities? None at all?
MATT: [thinks for a moment, shakes head]
GUILIE: What about Morgana? Does she have the makings of a heroine or antiheroine?
SUSAN: Matt, don't answer that. You're all going to have to read Matt's interview to find out.
GUILIE: But that's not until M day. That's, like, next week.
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Want to know more about these authors? Read the interviews with Gay, Stephen, Matt, Susan, and Michael about their 2014 stories.
The first six volumes of the 2014 project are available in both e-formats and print. Get free shipping with code FM303 (until April 10th).
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What's your definition of a hero? What about an antihero? Which do you prefer to read about? Which do you find it easier to relate to? Which is harder for you to write?