A Study On Heroism As Shown In Roger Rosenblatt’s The Man In The Water And Malala Yousafzai’s Speech During Her Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech
To Be a Hero
A “Common Man” is someone who is characteristically non-descript. There is nothing particularly special about a Common Man. A hero, on the other hand, is someone who commits great acts, showing strength and courage in times of need, yet in a way that outsiders may see themselves in that hero. However, these terms are not mutually exclusive. The common man can be considered a hero. If an ordinary person faces extraordinary circumstances, performs acts of selflessness and sacrifice, and presents him or herself with a sort of anonymity or relatability, then he or she is a hero.
A hero may be an ordinary person who meets extraordinary circumstances. In Text 1, “The Man in the Water,” Roger Rosenblatt reports the story of Flight 90. Horrible weather brought a plane crashing into a river, and “of the four acknowledged heroes of the event, three are able to account for their behavior.” The fourth man, a passenger on the plane, died in his heroic acts. “Only minutes before his character was tested, he was sitting in the ordinary plane among the ordinary passengers… some of whom would owe their lives to him.” In Text 2, Malala Yousafzai’s Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, Malala tells her own story, of how she loved school, enjoyed discovering new things with her friends, and had big dreams. This normal life of hers was halted when terrorists took over her home and girls were no longer allowed to receive an education. Her “world suddenly changed, (and her) priorities changed too.” In this extreme situation, she took a stand for the rights of herself, her friends, and women around the world. The song, “American Soldier,” by Toby Keith, describes the life of a normal American man who, as well as “just trying to be a father, rais(ing) a daughter and a son,” must also go into battle to defend his country.
To be heroic, one must be selfless and willing to make sacrifices. In “The Man in the Water,” one of the surviving heroes addressed his actions, saying “that ‘Somebody had to go in the water,” delivering every hero’s line that is no less admirable for its repetitions… nobody HAD to go in the water.” When Malala Yousafzai’s right to an education was taken from her and all of the other girls in her community, she knew she “had two options. One was to remain silent and wait to be killed. And the second was to speak up and then be killed.” She did not think of herself first, but of the way she could best contribute to the improvement of the situation as a whole. She stands proud as she says “I chose the second one. I decided to speak up.” Toby Keith’s song mentions some of the sacrifices a soldier must make for his country, including sacrificing one’s own life for the freedom of his fellow citizens. He sings, “I don’t want to die for you. But if dyin’s asked of me, I’ll bear that cross with honor.”
A hero must have anonymous or relatable traits about him. People admire heroes not only for their unachievable feats, but also for what makes them human, as people like to feel that they may have the ability and potential within themselves to be so great. The titled hero in “The Man in the Water,” died in ensuring the safety of the fellow passengers, and thus was unable to come forward and reveal his identity. Remaining an anonymous hero “invested him with a universal character. For a while he was ‘Everyman,’ and thus proof (as if one needed it) that no man is ordinary.” When Malala Yousafzai gives her acceptance speech, she ends by crediting those who she believes were just as deserving of such honor. She clarifies that she tells her “story, not because it is unique, but because it is not. It is the story of many girls.”
A hero does not need superpowers, a title, or a costume. A hero can be any person who responds instinctively to danger, who protects the rights of others, who acts well in any unconventional situation they come across. Any person who takes this opportunity to help others before themselves, selflessly sacrificing their well-being for that of others, is a hero. A hero is any person… and is seen as such. They could be anyone, and that’s part of their universal appeal.
Roger Rosenblatt’s Argument On The Cons Of A Computer
According to Roger Rosenblatt, in his article, “Why I Don’t Compute”, computers are not at all beneficial and can be harmful. He states that it is a slow method for writing, that it isolates people, and that it is not a good source for research. His article is almost completely misguiding besides his one semi good point. There are many different reasons that people find computers beneficial and Rosenblatt seemed not to try to address them. This could be because he does not know much about computers at all.
Rosenblatt argues that a computer is slower than a typewriter and even handwriting. He believes that the “fast and easy” corrections which a computer provides leave a writer with a feeling of loss of their creativeness. I disagree with this point because I do not believe that a creative writer is not going to let a computer stand in the way of their creativeness. Rosenblatt also argues that when a writer has to make corrections, they have to start all over again from the beginning. I do not see how this makes any sense because if the writer makes the mistake while typing on a computer, then they would make the same mistake when hand writing or typing on a typewriter. Either way, they would eventually realize they made a mistake and have to make the correction. A computer just finds the mistake sooner. In other, words, it is not the computer’s fault the writer makes a mistake and if they want to start their work all over from the beginning, then that is their choice.
Rosenblatt insists in his article that a computer isolates its user. A computer does not have the power to isolate anyone. It is actually the person who isolates themselves and that is not necessarily a horrible thing. Studies show that having access to use the internet and computers increases self esteem because of the development of computer skills and gives people the opportunity to learn more and explore their interests (“Bridging the digital Divide”). People meet others very different from themselves everyday, whether at work, school, or any other place. Using a computer to meet people like yourself or who have the same interests as you is relieving in a way. For an example, my hobby has always been collecting things. I barely ever meet someone who shares as much interest as I do in collecting. Every once in a while it is nice to be able to go into a chat room about collecting and talk to people about the things they collect. Rosenblatt states that he would much rather have a face to face conversation any day. So would almost anyone but that is not always possible when you do not meet face to face with people that do not share your interests. The online world provides news of every type from everywhere in the world and also provides email in which you can send messages to anyone you choose. The computer does not isolate anyone unless they want to be isolated.
Rosenblatt also argues that using a computer for research is not efficient. He states that when using a computer you know exactly what you are looking for as opposed to using a library, in which “happy accidents” can occur. I can see how this would seem true to someone who is unfamiliar with a computer. But a computer holds a vast amount of information, much more than a library holds. When researching via computer “happy accidents” can still occur because you are searching through web pages or articles just like you would be the shelves of books. However, I will give credit to Rosenblatt on his point that when researching on a computer you will find unwanted and improper content, but because of his lack of knowledge he does not realize that this can be avoided by filtering your search.
“Why I Don’t Compute” proves that Roger Rosenblatt is in denial of his emotions on using a computer. He makes it seem like a computer is a terror machine ready to take over the world. This makes it seem like he is afraid of using a computer because he does not know much about them. This, therefore displays his stubbornness because he is criticizing something that he does not have much knowledge about in the first place.