Essays About Heroes: 5 Examples And Topic Ideas

Here, we’ll look at examples of essays about heroes and questions that can be used as topics for essays about an imagined or real hero.

A few different images likely come to mind when you hear the word hero. You may imagine Superman flying above the world with his superpower of flight. You may imagine a personal hero, a real person who has made a significant impact on your life for the better. You might think of a true hero as someone who has shown heroic qualities in the public eye, working to help ordinary people through difficult situations.

When writing an essay about your life hero, it’s important to consider the qualities of that person that make them stand out to you. Whether you choose to write an essay about how your mom got you through tough times and became your role model or about a political figure who made a difference in the lives of people in history, it’s key to not just focus on the person’s actions—you’ll also want to focus on the qualities that allowed them to act heroically.

Here, we’ll explore examples of hero essays and potential topics to consider when writing about a hero.

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Examples Of Essays About Heroes

1. These Are The Heroes Of The Coronavirus Pandemic By Ruth Marcus

Examples of essays about heroes: These Are The Heroes Of The Coronavirus Pandemic By Ruth Marcus
Lance Cheung, U.S. Department of Agriculture, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

“Is this what they signed up for? There is some danger inherent in the ordinary practice of medicine, but not this much. I confess: I do not know that I would do the same in their circumstances; I am not sure I am so generous or so brave. If my child were graduating from medical school, how would I deal with her being sent, inadequately protected, into an emergency room? If my husband were a physician, would I send him off to the hospital — or let him back into the house in the interim?”

Ruth Marcus

Healthcare workers have had no choice but to go above and beyond in recent years. In this essay, Marcus discusses the heroism of those in the healthcare field. He delves into the traits (including selflessness and courage) that make doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers heroes.

2. Why Teachers Are My Heroes By Joshua Muskin

“Teachers are my heroes because they accept this responsibility and try extremely hard to do this well even when the conditions in which they work are far from ideal; at least most do. Our jobs as society, education systems, and parents is to do our best to be strong allies to teachers, since their success is essential to ours.”

Joshua Muskin

In this essay, Dr. Muskin discusses the many challenges teachers face and what parents, administrators, and education researchers can do to help teachers support students. Muskin explains that most teachers go above and beyond the call of duty to serve their classrooms.

3. Martin Luther King Jr.—Civil Rights Activist & Hero By Kathy Weiser-Alexander

“During this nonviolent protest, activists used boycotts, sit-ins, and marches to protest segregation and unfair hiring practices that caught the attention of the entire world. However, his tactics were put to the test when police brutality was used against the marchers, and King was arrested. But, his voice was not silenced, as he wrote his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” to refute his critics.”

Kathy Weiser-Alexander

In this essay, Weiser-Alexander details both the traits and the actions of Dr. King before and during the civil rights movement. The author touches on King’s commitment to justice, persistence, and willingness to stand for his beliefs despite difficult circumstances.

4. Steve Prefontaine: The Track Of A Hero By Bill O’Brian

“I remember this so vividly because Prefontaine was a hero to me, a hero in a way that no one was before, or really has been since. A British commentator once called him “an athletic Beatle.” If so, his persona was much more Lennon than McCartney. Actually, I thought of him more as Mick Jagger — or ultimately James Dean.”

Bill O’Brian

A hero to many in the running world, Prefontaine’s confidence, unique style, and unmatched athletic ability have been heralded for decades. In this essay, O’Brian shares how he, as a distance runner during the era of Pre, related to his struggles and ambition.

5. Forget Hamilton, Burr Is The Real Hero By Carey Wallace

“Burr fought against an ugly tide of anti-immigrant sentiment in the young republic, led by Hamilton’s Federalist party, which suggested that anyone without English heritage was a second-class citizen, and even challenged the rights of non-Anglos to hold office. In response, Burr insisted that anyone who contributed to society deserved all the rights of any other citizen, no matter their background.”

Carey Wallace

In this essay, Wallace explains why Aaron Burr, the lifelong nemesis of founding father Alexander Hamilton, should be considered a historical hero. This essay exposes someone seen as a villain but much of society with a different take on their history. 

Topic Ideas For Essays About Heroes

1. What Makes A Hero?

It can be interesting to think about your definition of a hero. When describing what the term hero means to you, you may want to choose a person (or a few people) you look up to as a hero to solidify your point. You might want to include fictional characters (such as those in the Marvel universe) and real-life brave souls, such as police officers and firefighters.

A word of caution: stay away from the cliche opening of describing how the dictionary defines a hero. Instead, lead-in with a personal story about a hero who has affected your life. While talking about a public figure as a hero is acceptable, you may find it easier to write about someone close to you who you feel has displayed heroic qualities. Writing about a family member or friend who has shown up as a heroic main character in your life can be just as exciting as writing about a real or imagined superhero.

2. What Are The Most Important Characteristics Of Heroes In Literature?

From Beowulf to Marvel comics, heroes in literature take on many different traits. When writing an essay on what trait makes a hero come alive in a short story, novel, or comic, choose a few of your favorite heroes and find common themes that they share.

Perhaps your favorite heroes are selfless and are willing to put themselves last in the name of sacrifice for others. Perhaps they’re able to dig deep into the truth, being honest even when it’s hard, for the greater good. There’s no need to list endless heroes to make your point—choosing three or four heroes from literature can be a great way to support your argument about what characteristics define heroism in literature.

3. What Constitutes A Heroic Act?

When someone is named a hero in real life, we often picture them saving people from a burning building or performing a difficult surgical operation. It can be difficult to pin down exactly what constitutes a heroic act. When writing about what constitutes a heroic act, think about people who go above and beyond, performing feats of courage, honesty, and bravery to support themselves or others. When writing about what constitutes a heroic act, discuss real-life or literary examples of heroes at work.

4. Is Selflessness Required For Heroism?

To many people, being a hero means giving back to others. While giving something away or trading in one’s well-being for others can certainly be seen as a heroic act, many people wonder if selflessness is required for heroism or if a hero can serve the greater good in a way that also supports their happiness. When writing about whether selflessness is required for heroism, choose examples from literature and real-life to support your point.

Tip: If writing an essay sounds like a lot of work, simplify it. Write a simple 5 paragraph essay instead.

If you’re still stuck, check out our available resource of essay writing topics.

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