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).
“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)
“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
Fatal Flaws of a Hero
Atypical untypical exceptional unique
Brave heroic fearless
Valor valorous heroism valiant
Hero heroic heroism
Virtue moral excellence righteousness
Perseverance persist carry on never give up hang tough
Leader leadership chief
Sacrifice devoted dedicated devoted