Harry Potter, “the boy who lived” has always been considered someone who is higher above than regular people because he is the one who stopped Voldemort and weakened his powers. Harry was only a baby and he was able to do this while adult wizards with education about magic and experience could not even stop Voldemort. Because of that he is considered a hero, but it is not just this reason alone that he is considered a hero. He has been very strong and determined throughout his young wizard career. He is able to stand up and fight. In the first book, he battled Voldemort and in the second one, he fought Tom Riddle, the Basilisk, and even destroyed one of the holcruxes. Then, in this book he is able to take on an Expecto patronum charm which is very advanced magic to defeat dementors. One can be born with hero characteristics, which Harry clearly inherited from his parents, but one cannot be a hero unless they set out to change the injustice instead of just letting it come to them. Harry could have let Voldemort come to him or just let Voldemort kill but he was committed to fighting Voldemort. This was partly to avenge his parents; and this seems the motive for a lot of what Harry does throughout the books, but he still wants to stop Voldemort because Voldemort is wrong and evil. Harry has the characteristics needed of a hero. He is strong, he is capable of being a leader, he is determined, strong-willed, and passionate. Harry cares a lot about his friends, his teachers, and Hogwarts and he would do whatever he could to protect them. This is evident throughout all the books where we see Harry put himself on the line to fight. In the fifth book, he builds an army to fight Voldemort after he rose again in the graveyard during the Triwizard Tournament. Harry is sometimes a little naïve and goes out looking for Voldemort but this is not always the case. He was innocent at first but as he progressed through his years at Hogwarts, he started becoming more daring and finally sets out and does kill Voldemort in the end. Harry has all the traits of being a hero, he is a true hero.
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Ged is chasing the shadow now instead of fleeing from it. He goes on a boat but he cannot go onto any island because all the islanders are afraid of him because the shadow portrayed him and scared everyone on the islands. He finally gets to the island of Iffish where his friend Vetch is the mage. Vetch agrees to help Ged find the shadow and they go off to find it. Ged goes off to confront the shadow by himself and they both talk at the same time and call each other “Ged”. “Ged reached out his hands, dropping his staff, and took hold of his shadow, of the black self that reached out to him. Light and darkness met, and joined, and were one” (179). All along he needed to realize that it was ok to die, it happens to everyone and he had to embrace that it would happen to him eventually as well. Ged was always convinced that the shadow had a name even though all his teachers at school thought it was nameless and in the end it was just himself. Ged learns that the shadow is himself and he also learned to accept the chance of himself dying. After he accepted these facts he could finally be freed from the pursuing shadow. “Ged had neither lost nor won but, naming the shadow of his death with his own name, had made himself whole: a man: who, knowing his whole truth self, cannot be used or possessed by any power other than himself” (181). Once we learn to accept our true selves and our eventual outcome then we can live our life to the fullest and be able to have a good time.
In Peter Pan, the gender roles are pretty basic, the boy is the one who saves the girl in distress and the girl is the one who gets into a situation where they need to be saved. Wendy is the mother; from the time Peter and Wendy meets all Peter talks about is how she will be the mother of the Lost Boys and him, she could take care of them and sew their clothes. “Wendy, you could tuck us in at night. And you could darn our clothes, and make pockets for us.” (Barrie, 38) When they get to Neverland, she takes care of all the boys while they play and have fun. Peter Pan was cunning and would do whatever he needed to protect his “family”. He played husband and wife when Wendy came and the Lost Boys and Wendy’s brothers were their children. “Children, I hear your father’s step. He likes you to meet him at the door.”(Barrie, 120) They followed the gender stereotypes of man is the provider and women is the one who takes care of the children and other household work. When Wendy decided she wanted to go home and take everyone one with her, this is when they got attacked by Captain Hook’s crew. This follows the stereotype of the women is the damsel in distress. She was tied up to the mast which shows even more that she is in need of saving. Her brothers and the Lost Boys are just little kids and Peter is a man so it is he who needs to save Wendy, but the younger children also help aid in Wendy’s escape after they are sent into the cabin to seek their “danger.” Once Wendy decided it was time for her brothers and her to go home, Peter and Wendy made a deal that she would come back once a year for spring cleaning since he could not clean himself because it was a women’s job. Mrs. Darling let “Wendy go to him for a week every year to do his spring cleaning.”(Barrie, 196) Gender stereotypes in this story, follow the norm that men are strong and are our saviors while women are the damsels in distress and take care of the children and stay at home.
In all the stories we’ve read there has been gender roles that just stick up and deviation from them are frowned upon. Women are supposed to be passive, submissive, follow the orders of men, and do housework. Men are the breadwinners, active, and heroic. The men are the ones who always have to save the damsel in distress.
In “Hansel and Gretel”, it starts out with the apparent gender roles of men being the smart ones who save women and the women just following the men. Towards the end though, these gender roles are challenged a little bit by Gretel. The mother is wicked and evil which is suspected by stepmothers and she wants to get rid of her children for her on greed. The father agrees and Hansel hears this and since he is the man he comes up with a plan for his sister and him to stay safe. He is the one who gets the stones and makes a path for them to follow home. This does work, but they are abandoned all over again so he uses the same plan but with bread crumbs. This time it doesn’t work because birds eat the bread up, so being the man he has to figure a plan out and he gets them to a witch’s house who tries to eat them. This follows the stereotype that men never ask for directions and this is how they got to the witch’s house. Once the witch decides to eat Hansel, it is now Gretel’s turn to find a way out to safety. She uses intelligence and once opportunity brings itself up, she gets them to safety. She is the one who pushes the witch into the oven and rescues Hansel, she is the one who finds the duck once they got to the river so they can cross it, and she is the one who realizes it is dangerous to go across on the duck together. They find their way back to their father’s house after this all because Gretel was able to take charge. Women are just as capable as men as finding a solution out of bad situations. Women do not always need men to take care of them because women are capable of taking care of themselves.
The Classic Fairy Tales Maria Tatar