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A Mystery of Heroism

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What does it mean to be a hero? Does it mean that the person have to have super human abilities, and in return, be a hero? In “A Mystery of Heroism, by Stephen Crane, this question is explored. In this story, we read about Fred Collins, who is a union solider in the Civil War. He is a simple man who is shameful, childish, and who is thrown into a war that has no place for him. During the course of the story, Collins yearns for a drink of well water located across an active battlefield. Finally, after going against all his inhibitions and judgment, he decides to make the suicidal trip.

The definition for a hero is a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds. Sometimes a person has to achieve a high enough status to become a hero in people’s minds, but Collins is just a simple man who is a Union soldier in the Civil War. Fred Collins is the hero in this story because he shows courage by getting some water that is located across the dangerous battlefield. The brave deed that he did was to risk his life to help a dying soldier. His bravery and kindness prove that he is indeed a true hero. In the story, Collins was thirsty so he wanted some water that is located across the dangerous battlefield. Going against his judgment, Collins decides to make the judge mental trip because of peer pressure. When Collins returns back to his side of the field, he bumps into a soldier who is in need of a drink. Collins shows kindness, which is also a characteristic of a hero, by giving the officer some water to drink.

LifeHe is a hero, but not just because he defies death, but because of the manner in which he takes controls and stops to help out a fellow soldier in the last minutes of the man’s life. Upon Collins’ arrival to his regiment he is not greeted with a hero’s welcome. His fellow soldiers grab the bucket of water, and in their haste, spill it. I think it is kind of ironic since he went to a lot of trouble to get water for himself and he, in turn, never gets any. Collins starts his missions for his own selfish reasons and yet ends up helping others and becoming heroes, without truly intending to do so.

Most people become heroes without intention. That is definitely the case of Fred Collins because never once before his missions did he think of becoming a hero because of his actions. Collins’ behavior is a mystery of heroism because he is just an ordinary man who could do extraordinary things that others can’t do. Even though he didn’t save the soldier life or anybody else life but he shows courage by giving the dying soldier and his fellow comrades some water to drink. The things that impress me the most about Fred Collins is his courage and kindness when he risks his life to help the dying soldier, and that, in fact, is a true hero to me.

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