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American Individualistic Heroism
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American Individualistic Heroism

(王露萍)

Individualistic heroism is a kind of spirit and belief that through great effort and contribution people can be accepted by the society from which people can gain the profit. And it is supposed to be a positive direction of life. It advocates freedom and independence, values individual dignity and inner sense of mission and sense of justice, which conforms to the deep individualism and the heroism with holy mission in American society.

America is a nation that worships individualistic heroism so fervently. Americans advocate the spirits of independence and freedom, and it affirms people’s value and fully embodies people’s importance moreover,  many policies of America are basic on the principle that people are the most important. America encourages its citizens to create freedom and bright life by self-ability and contributes to the society. From their childhood American people advocate personal struggle and learn how to win in the fierce competition and achieve senses of safety and accomplishment, so that they can be the leader in various fields.

   Individualistic heroism is the source of American energy. In such social environment people are encouraged to seek self-esteem and self-respect and to shoulder the responsibility of earning a living and the responsibility of society.

And such individualistic heroism is also expressed in the Hollywood movies especially in the Hollywood westerns. The value of individualistic heroism in the Hollywood westerns is the characteristic movie theme which reflects the culture of American society . And with the development of the Hollywood westerns, the American value of individualistic heroism reflected in the films has been spreading widely. Westerns are the representatives of American culture and value. In the classical westerns, the films would wipe off the realistic elements that frontiersmen cooperate and help each other during conquering the nature, and select a single-handed hero as the theme. Those films try to show us the undaunted and just spirit expressed by the hero when facing the vicious power, and try to show us a hero who does not limited by family, friends and society. And the hero is a superior savior. From these films the audiences can learn that American praise highly freedom and don’t want to be limited by any social relationship and social system. They would have a sense of mission to be a hero to save the world from adversity. At the same time, these films also reflect the contradictions between individual freedom and social order, and between violent methods and the aim of establishing democratic society. They are many studies about westerns, but most of them pay great attention to the political events and the contemporary thought insinuated from the films, which does not pay attention to the culture.     

How should we look at the American individualistic heroism? We should admit that to some extent American individualistic heroism has its positive significance. And the spirits of freedom and democracy of individualistic heroism reflected in the movies encourage us. We should be positive to the spirits of freedom, independence, self-dignity and justice conveyed by the individualistic heroism. But we should also learn the incompatible contradictions that the individualistic heroism implies between individual freedom and social order, between violent means and democratic society.

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