Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Heroic Death

I had to do some searching for my paper topic but I believe I have finally found what I want to write. I was looking through Zeppelin City and I came across the passage where Amelia Spindizzy is swooping around the city and thinking about a heroic death. Why would anyone want to die? Even if the death was considered heroic, it is still the end. My topic is the use of the heroic death in science fiction and how it relates to the purpose of the story. What do you think?


Bailey said...

I like this idea a lot. It does seem to be a common theme that we see characters willing to make the grand sacrifice, especially when it involves a dramatic way of saving humanity. My paper is based off of "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown" and I think the main character Matilda also does the "heroic death" thing because she lets herself turn into a vampire (body dies) to save Julian and Lydia.

Andy Duncan said...

Caleb, I think this is a good topic, if you limit yourself to a few texts and make no attempt to make sweeping generalizations about "heroic death in science fiction." Besides "Zeppelin City" and "The Coldest Girl," can we think of any other examples from our readings so far?

Keep in mind, too, that the heroic death is a pervasive cultural trope, so it's not surprisingly as common in sf as in all other cultural manifestations. Been to a veterans' monument or a Memorial Day parade lately?

Philosophical question: Since none of us will avoid dying, why NOT long for a heroic death, as opposed to some of the other obvious options?

Jordan said...

Hmm. Philosophical questions are fun.
I think plenty of people do long for some kind of heroic death, something to be remembered by. Fallen soldiers get memorials and highways dedicated in their names. They get schools named after them in their hometowns. People who die from lung cancer get a shake of the head and a "He really should not have smoked."
I think others want to go out in a blaze of glory just to avoid the embarrassment of getting old and gross and forgetting who their children are and how to use the bathroom by themselves. Why not get to the peak of life, enjoy it, then kick it in some way that gets you remembered for years to come?