Quick Thinking in the Toughest Times: Heroism in Seabiscuit and Jasper Jones
In both the movie Seabiscuit by director Gary Ross and the novel Jasper Jones by author Craig Silvey, many heroes hidden in plain sight can be found. These characters are very similar in certain elements such as Johnny Pollard, who is also known as Red has striking similarities with Jasper Jones. The two are “wild” in a way where they have learnt to live on their own without support and reacts. They don’t pay attention to their health but were able to quickly makes decisions that can lead to beneficial outcomes. Charles Howard and Charlie Bucktin are the heroes in the two texts. They choose to help someone who they know very little about and were always there to support their friends. Tom Smith and Charlie’s dad are similar as they are very knowledgeable in their fields and the best solution to a problem. Therefore, heroes are people who help can react to challenges and quickly solve them.
The characters Red Pollard and Charlie are comparable as they spent the majority of their life by themselves. Either they are separated from their family or their family doesn’t want them. Johnny was sent to another family by his parents so he can live a better life than them caused by the Great Depression and Jasper only have an abusive father to go back to so he instead stays away from him. Their life remains on the road leading to nowhere until they meet someone who can support and guide them to a better life. Red Pollard met Charles Howard, and then he was hired as Seabiscuit’s jockey, and Jasper Jones asked Charlie to help him find out who murdered Laura. They could have ended up on a very different path compared to the original plot if Red and Jasper had chosen someone else to help them. Thus, heroes are people whom can make decisions which best solves their problem quickly without stuffing up.
Red Pollard and Jasper Jones didn’t care too much about their health. Red Pollard often drinks an excessive amount of alcohol and fight illegal boxing matches for extra money, but this leaves him with a blind eye. Also, Red Pollard had a broken leg and is still very brittle, if he breaks it again he will not be able to walk again. Despite that, he still decides to race the Santa Anita handicap even when all his friends are against that decision because he wanted to win the race that he had lost the first time and he just said: “I think it’s better to break a man’s leg than his heart”. This means that Red Pollard rather not walk again for the rest of his life than miss out on the race. Jasper also drinks alcohol but usually not to a level where he becomes drunk however it is still very bad for his brain which is still developing at his age; He also smokes a lot of cigarettes which is bad for many parts of the body. But Jasper does it anyway because he can control himself not to excessively drink or smoke. So, heroes are people who can make swift decisions to best meet the challenges
Charles Howard and Charlie are also good at making fast answer to a stressful situation. Even though both characters are set in a very different plot, their reactions changed the person they helped forever. When Johnny greets Howard, and he asked for money, Charles never gave a second thought and said “sure”. Although this is nothing for Charles, Red had tremendous respect for him and used the money to visit his struggling family. Charles Howard also kept as many of his employers as he can through the great depression so they won’t become homeless while going through the loss of his son in a car crash and then his wife divorcing him. Charlie also did his best to help Jasper Jones who is depicted as a criminal and used as a scapegoat by the town of Corrigan. Despite this, when Jasper frantically knocks Charlie’s window asking for help, Charlie instinctively Charlie said “I’m coming” and went to help when he doesn’t know what Jasper needs help with. Later on, Charlie has helped Jasper find Laura’s killer who turned out to be herself and also learnt a lot about the bigot attitude and behaviour in his town. Charlie also helps himself and his best friend Jeffery Lu by “stealing” 4 peaches from Jack Lionel’s tree. This will grant him immunity from any bullying from Warrant Trent and his friends and will not be beaten up for using complicated words. Also, Jeffery will be able to stay in the cricket team permanently for the year and not as a backup. Thus, anyone who can respond to challenges with speedy solutions can be considered a hero.
The last two heroes are Tom Smith and Charlie’s dad who are very wise and knowledgeable in their field of work but also stand up for the right things. However, being smart does not make anyone a hero, they can think fast and help someone out of a sticky situation that counts. Tom Smith was a homeless horse trainer who is known for saying “You know, you don’t throw a whole life away just ’cause he’s banged up a little.” He has mentioned this numerous times in the movie and also said it to the person who is about to execute a horse which had a broken foot. Charlie’s dad also showed heroic qualities when he and some neighbours were woken up by men destroying An Lu’s garden as well as abusing him. From the novel, Charlie’s dad and a neighbour confronted the four men and stopped them from doing any more harm to An Lu. The attack was caused by Mick Thompson losing his job at the local mine and blamed An Lu for stealing his job when he was the one who caused it. This incident left Charlie very proud of his dad since he was usually a reticent person who kept to himself. Accordingly, a hero is a person who can solve complications fast.
When putting the Seabiscuit film and Jasper Jones novel together for comparison, we can see that a hero is capable of swiftly choosing the right action to solve any situation. Proven by Johnny Pollard and Jasper Jones who can make quick decisions to solve their problems such as Red Pollard picking Charles Howard to be his boss, racing the Santa Anita race even though he is risking the chance that he will never be able to walk again, Jasper seeking help from Charlie who dedicated his effort and finally found him Laura’s killer which happened to be herself. Tom Smith saved a horse’s life through his view on “every horse is good for something” and Charlie’s dad stopping Harry Rawlings and his friends from being able to cause further harm to An Lu. Evidently, it is evident that heroes in Seabiscuit and Jasper Jones are all people who can make the best decision even at the toughest of times.
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