• Unit Essay: War and Propaganda

    The United States Marine Memorial bears these words on its base, "Uncommon Valor was a common virtue", and in the play Mr. Roberts, Doc says that heroism is based on "opportunity". How should heroism be defined and how did Doug Roberts fulfill both Doc's definition and the words on the base of the memorial?

    Provide at least 3 examples from the play or another piece we read this marking period to illustrate how heroism and valor is defined.


    Mister Roberts (play), by Heggen and Joshua Logan, 1948

    Flags of Our Fathers (novel) byJames Bradley, 2000


    Thesis Statement—Lt. Doug Roberts, the protagonist of Mr. Roberts, the Thomas Heggen and Joshua Logan play, displays characteristics of a hero despite his assignment as the executive officer on a cargo ship during World War II.





    “That’s mostly what physical heroism is—opportunity. It’s a reflex…Hell, it’s a reflex. It’s like the knee-jerk” (365).


    Doug  Roberts:

    “I’m thinking now of –all the guys everywhere who sail from Tedium to Apathy and back again—with an occasional side trip to Monotony. ..I’ve discovered that the most terrible enemy of this war is the boredom that eventually becomes a faith and, therefore, a sort of suicide—and I know now that the ones who refuse to surrender to it are the strongest of all.” (418)


    Doug Roberts:

    “I’m looking at something that’s hanging over my desk..I’d rather have it than the Congressional Medal of Honor. It tells me what I’ll always be proudest of—that at a time in the world when courage counted most; I lived among a hundred and sixty-seven brave men.” (418)


    "Uncommon Valor was a common virtue"


    Characteristics of a Hero








    performs duty


    Fatal Flaws of a Hero




    reckless-risk taker

    seeks glory

    seeks adventure




    Word Bank

    Atypical                 untypical              exceptional        unique

    Brave                    heroic                   fearless

    Valor                     valorous               heroism               valiant

    Hero                      heroic                   heroism

    Courage               courageous

    Virtue                  moral excellence      righteousness

    Uncommon          exceptional

    Common             ordinary

    Perseverance       persist                  carry on             never give up                    hang tough

    Leader                  leadership             chief                     

    Sacrifice               devoted               dedicated            devoted