Thursday, March 7, 2013

The facade of the hero

The Façade of the Hero

In Jimmy Corrigan, there is a strong ideal of a hero, and this is seen from the very beginning when the reader sees part of his childhood. This hero is supposed to be like any other hero, chivalrous, kind and strong, however, the hero in this novel is failing to be any of those things. Young Jimmy is so excited to see this character that he believes in to a high degree, however, this superhero is human and is not much of a hero at all, and this has consequences for the rest of the comic book.

                When Jimmy first meets this hero in person, he is not the strapping young lad that is often imagined with heroes; instead he is an older man with grey hair and a normal figure. This part of the hero begins the argument in the novel about the Also this older version of Jimmy’s hero is even more of a fraud because he is not the same color as the rest of the hero images in the novel, which I believe is to recognize that this man does not care about his career at all and is just doing this as a daytime job. However, for the idealized version of a superhero, this character should have more of a charisma to him, and I believe that this aids to give Jimmy a harsher reality that the imaginative world and reality are not to be intermingled. In this comic, Jimmy often drifts off into daydreams in this novel, and they are often loosely tied to his reality, and this doesn’t just happen in small sections, there are entire episodic arcs

 This man then does one of the most unchivalrous acts, he leaves Jimmy’s house after a one night stand with his mother without saying a word to her. This is Jimmy’s hero and most likely his male role model, and this character just ruined possibly one of Jimmy’s only male role models, which can possibly explain his cowardice. As Jimmy was growing up, his father was never present and it isn’t until much later that Jimmy learns any information about his father. Jimmy’s mother never detached from her son either, possibly due to men constantly leaving her, but it causes major consequences for adult Jimmy.  In the novel up to the point where we stopped, Jimmy barely talks and is often timid and panics when he is prompted to make a choice or to answer a question. This is very child-like behavior for an adult to be having, and it’s possible that, due to the lack of male role models in his early childhood years and the constant care of his helicopter mother, Jimmy was never fully able to become independent. Every other adult in this novel still calls Jimmy a child even though he is well into his thirties, which seems odd, but when placed with this example explanation, it makes sense. Jimmy has very little control over his life, his dad even needs to be in the doctor’s office with him.  

                The false hero is one of the few characters other than Jimmy’s parents that had an effect on the overall quality of his childhood, and since childhood often molds an individual into the person that they become, and Jimmy is a fearful and indecisive character who most likely was never challenged as a child and didn’t have a decent role model.


Jackson Crowder said...

Overall, you make an excellent point concerning how Jimmy meeting his hero is a traumatic event that shapes him as an adult. Kids do look up to falsely improperly figures like Superman (or a famous athlete in a more real world sense) so, when they do the most human thing it is possible to do - transgress, it can be hard to comprehend. For Jimmy, I would imagine that it was a moment that shook the faith of an otherwise happy kid so, in saying that it had a profound effect on his life moving forward, I believe you're right. However, I wish you had written about how it relates to Jimmy's later life fantasies where he pictures himself as a Superman figure. Could it relate to his own self-loathing?

Adam said...

Nice concept & title.

It's hard to follow what you're saying about the guy who played "TV's superman." Is it really true that he has no charisma? He has a lot by the standards of these miserable people! I like the observation about the colors - that could have been developed further.

Your discussion of Jimmy's childish behavior is ok but basic - how does it connect with the theme/problem of the hero? That's unclear to me.

Talking about this one false hero in isolation (rather than in relationship with, e.g., Jimmy's father and his fantasy superman) is troublesome. This book is full of false heroes. Now, you can analyze these one, but you need to analyze him through his particulars - not through the attributes he shares with all the other false heroes.