07 September 2011

In Answer to the Question at the End of This Video

The thoughts expressed in the following video pertain to my answer so please watch it before you read my answer.

Is my quest heroic?** First, I will define these terms as I think of them, and then I'm going to answer my question based from those definitions.

I think of a quest as a great adventure that takes place throughout the life of a character. At the end of their life and beyond they have achieved greatness, which is a position of great personal respect for themselves and the people in their lives. Harry Potter is an example of a contemporary quest. The Odyssey is an ancient quest. Quests can also come in small forms. In Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen, the quest of the main character is to find a place to call home. Gatsby's quest in The Great Gatsby is to be happy and go back to the time of innocence when he first met Daisy before the war. The quest of Magpie in The Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer is to rid the faerie realm of the Blackbringer. By bringing in these different stories, I can now identify a quest as a personal goal to which I aim to achieve. At the end of my quest, I hope to grow as a person and hopefully earn the respect of my peers and anyone else with whom I interact with.

I have several goals in my life. I want to implement a blog about writing to be maintained by my creative writing group. When I settle down in a city with a career, I want to buy a Mac desktop and run the latest version of Windows on it. I want to buy a parrot and teach it tricks and have it sit on my shoulder as I write. I want to live on the West Coast solely because I've never been there before. I want to intern at a literary agency and hopefully start a career as a literary agent. I want to work in the science fiction sect of the publishing world.

Now, is my quest heroic? I think of a hero as someone who saves a life not because they had a social obligation but because they had the opportunity to do so and they took it. From that alone, I say my quest is not heroic. For one thing, I dodge calls from the American Red Cross who want me to donate blood every three months or so. I do not interact with people in need on a regular basis. Neither do I actively seek out charities and charitable organizations for which I can be a part of. If you do not think this disqualifies me as a hero, then please say so in the comments. But I do not think of myself as a hero.

Is my quest heroic? No, my quest is not heroic.

I feel no shame in this. My personal goals are my own and are created based on what will make me happiest. The fact that I do not do charity work does not mean that I am a bad person. I smile and say hi to people I know on the street. I apologize for doing something wrong. I feel guilty for something as innocent as spitting from a tall building (there were no passersby directly underneath. I checked.) I assured a police officer today that I will spread the word to my roommates to be on the lookout for terrorists. My roommate gave me a weird look, but I still passed the word even though I thought it was ridiculous as well. (Who would want to attack a UW football game? If you're going to attack Wisconsin, you attack a Packer game or Sturgeon Bay. That is, those are the places I would attack.) Also, I had a dog approach me while I was on vacation and plop down on my foot. I figure if a dog likes me that much, I can't be too bad. Can't I?

In any case, I am confident in my goodness as a person and I do not think my quest is heroic. That is the answer to my question.

** I didn't exactly finish The Great Gatsby so I feel unqualified to answer the other question. 

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