Monday, December 17, 2012

"Even little people are capable of large deeds"

Ashley Crouch has seen The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and it has inspired reflection on the nature of heroism:
.... As Gandalf says, heroism is found not through a grand deed but in “the small things, everyday deeds of ordinary folk, that keeps the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love.” Suddenly, we are offered an achievable standard. We are invited to shift out of our narrow prism to conceive the possibility that heroism is found in small deeds, to reexamine our own seemingly miniscule decisions and, in them, find significance and heroism. In our support of him, we implicitly agree that even little people are capable of large deeds.

Through Bilbo’s journey, we stare in the face our own perceptions of inadequacy and are encouraged to rethink them. Like Bilbo, we fear our capacity to provide anything of value. “I know you doubt me. I would have doubted me, too. I am not a hero or a warrior,” says he. Yet, we long for the opportunity to prove ourselves, caught between a tense pendulum of fear and paralysis on the one hand and valor and greatness on the other; Bilbo typifies this internal struggle. ....

As the credits rolled, I found that my answer to the question “what is heroism?” echoed those of Thorin’s: “When I called upon them, they answered. Loyalty, honor, a willing heart. I can ask no more than that.” Tolkien’s answer to the gentle question—what is heroism?—puts us in the uncomfortable position of asking ourselves what role we are going to play in the saga—in what ways are we going to be the hero. Suddenly, heroism for the average person is achievable. ....
I've read the book - I'll see the first of the films tomorrow.

What Does Bilbo Teach Us about Heroism? « Acculturated
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