Project for Heroism, English homework help

For your paper, you will be exploring one trait of a hero in a complex and nuanced way. You will build this complexity by discussing two heroes who possess it – and one hero who does not.

Below is what your outline should include:


  1. Tell your reader what the purpose of your paper is. Propose to define an epic hero by exploring one aspect of heroism.
  2. Provide background. What is an epic?
  3. Choose a trait of an epic hero. This trait should be shared by several heroes we read about (Beowulf, Gilgamesh, Eowyn, Merry, Sundiata, and Odysseus), but should not be so broad that it can apply to all of them.

Paragraph 1:

  1. Describe the unique way that one hero displays the heroic trait that you are focusing on.
  2. Use 2-3 examples from the story excerpts to support your point.

Paragraph 2:

  1. Describe the unique way that a different hero displays the heroic trait that you are focusing on.
  2. Use 2-3 examples from the story excerpts to support your point.
  3. Focus specifically on describing the way the heroes you chose display the same trait differently.

Paragraph 3:

  1. Begin this paragraph by discussing how epics reflect the values of the culture that created them.
  2. Next, introduce one of the heroes we studied in this Unit who does not possess the heroic trait. Describe the ways in which the hero differs from the previous two.
  3. Then, dig in: Does the hero truly express this trait, but in a unique way? Or, what trait seems to replace that one?
  4. Use 2-3 examples from the story excerpts to support your point.


  1. Come to a meaningful insight about what heroism truly means.

This essay structure might be new to you. Usually, academic essays ask you to choose a thesis and prove it thoroughly, while this essay asks you to break away from your thesis to create a deeper definition of heroism. Because it might be confusing, I have included a summary of a sample essay below. (Note: This summary shows you the progression of thought I am looking for. Your essay should follow a similar logical path, but should be a full five paragraphs, include quotations from the story, etc.)

Your paper must discuss three heroes out of the ones we studied in the Unit (Beowulf, Gilgamesh, Eowyn, Merry, Sundiata, Odysseus). You must use quotes from the text for at least two of the three heroes, and a total of at least four quotes throughout the paper.

This essay should be between two and five pages (500-1500 words) in length. Your final draft should be saved and submitted as .doc or .pdf file. It should be in 12-point font in Times New Roman.

10% of your grade will be on grammar and mechanics. Write as clearly and correctly as you can. This means that 90% of your grade is based on your ideas – however, you will not earn an A if you do not proofread carefully and check for errors.

Answer these questions after the essay:

  1. How hard or easy was it to write your essay?
  2. Do you like your essay the way it is?
  3. What is your favorite part of your essay?
  4. What parts of your essay do you not like?
  5. How closely did you follow your outline? Did you find that it was better to deviate from your plan once you began writing?
  6. Overall, do you feel your essay was successful?

Use your reflections to guide your revision. Improve the passages or points you thought were weak, and add anything that you did not already include according to the bullet points above.

At this stage, you should also look for other areas to improve your essay. Pay attention to the following:

  1. Avoid repetition. Are your sentences really similar in structure and word choice? Check especially your topic sentences.
  2. Can you dig deeper? Your goal is to teach your reader about the meaning of heroism through these epic heroes. Are your assertions pretty obvious, so that anyone could easily come to the same conclusions? If so, try to constrict or expand your focus.
  3. Avoid sweeping generalizations. Are your assertions so big that they are no longer useful? Sentence such as “Since the beginning of time, heroes have been saving the world” or “Heroes are good” might be true, but they are not instructive.
  4. Make purposeful decisions about the order of your ideas. If you have a reason why you put this character first or began with this example from the story, creating strong, meaningful transitions will be easy.
  5. Choose strong words. “Strong” might be the perfect word, or it might be too general. Do you mean “physically powerful” or “moral”? Or are you using “Strong” to mean both? Make your word choices with purpose.
  6. The assignment instructions provide you with an outline. Does your paper closely follow all the bullet points?
  7. Make sure your evidence is presented correctly.
    1. Introduce your example or quote. What story is it from, and from what point in the plot? Who is speaking?
    2. Place your quote into the paragraph. Make sure you have punctuated it correctly. Here is a resource to help:
  8. Check your paper for opinions. This is an analysis paper, which means you will be presenting evidence and interpreting it. Your personal opinions and experiences should not appear in your paper.
  9. Finally, find someone else to read your paper! There will be small errors, strange wording, or unclear ideas that you as the writer will be incapable of seeing from your perspective. A fresh pair of eyes from a new reader will help you do a quality revision. Ask a parent, sibling, or friend to read over your work. Ask them to respond to it using the checklist above that you used to write a reflection in your journal.

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