What is synthesis and how is it applied in discussing the prompt “What makes a hero?”


For this Apply, you will synthesize what you have learned so far about Epic Heroes.
Synthesis is a critical thinking skill in which you put together
significant pieces of what you have learned in order to create
additional meaning. A Synthesis shows that you comprehended what you
read, broken it apart into smaller pieces to study individually, and
rebuilt it into a concise insight.
Write a careful and thoughtful paragraph that discusses the prompt in a nuanced way:
What makes a hero?
In the modern Epic of Lord of the Rings, we are presented
with a pair of heroes rather than just the one – Eowyn and Merry.
Obviously Eowyn’s gender and Merry’s stature differentiate them from the
giant, masculine heroes of Beowulf and Gilgamesh. Write a paragraph
that compares and contrasts the relevant aspects of their heroic feats
and characteristics. Then, in the conclusion of your paragraph, discuss:
Are the differences in gender and stature relevant to their status as heroes?
Avoid making sweeping generalizations. Be specific, and strive to
find the most precise way to describe these heroes. Use the following
questions to help you find important points of comparison:
How do the heroes take down their foes? Do they use their bare
hands, or weapons? Does the hero consider the distinction important?
Which heroes have similar physical characteristics? Which heroes are
different from the others, and do those differences affect their
ability to be heroic?
Which heroes engage in boasting (“trash talk”) or other banter
before the fight? What is the purpose of these pre-battle exchanges?
Which heroes work in partners? What role does their partner play,
and does teamwork imply strength or weakness in the hero within their
You do not need to address each of the bulleted prompts above
directly, but a good response will show me that you have considered
these questions.

Introduction: Epic Heroes have been an integral part of fiction since the beginning of time, and their portrayal has continued to evolve. Synthesizing the characteristics of epic heroes can provide additional insights, allowing us to distinguish between their unique qualities and understand how they represent a deeper social and cultural context. The aim of this essay is to explore what makes a hero and compare the heroic feats and characteristics of Eowyn and Merry from the modern epic Lord of the Rings.

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Description: In Lord of the Rings, we are introduced to two heroes -Eowyn and Merry-who stand out for their contrasting traits. Eowyn, being a female character, defies the generic image of a masculine hero in an epic. She proves her worth by fighting against the masked warrior leader, the Witch-King of Angmar, and killing him. In contrast, Merry, the hobbit, lacks the physical presence of the standard hero, but his courage and resourcefulness are equally unparalleled. Together with Eowyn, he takes down the Witch-King by stabbing him with a magical blade in the heart. What differentiates both heroes is how they take down their foes and whether or not they engage in boasting or trash talk before the fight. Despite their differences in gender and stature, they both showcase immense strength, courage, and determination in their heroic acts. The following paragraphs will delve into these differences and analyze whether or not they impact their status as heroes.

1. To apply critical thinking skills to synthesize knowledge about Epic Heroes and create new insights.
2. To compare and contrast the heroic feats and characteristics of Eowyn and Merry in Lord of the Rings.
3. To analyze the relevance of gender and stature in determining the status of heroes.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Students will demonstrate the ability to synthesize information from multiple sources to create new insight.
2. Students will be able to analyze and compare the characteristics and accomplishments of two heroes in a complex text.
3. Students will develop an understanding of the importance of considering cultural and historical context in evaluating the status of heroes.

In Lord of the Rings, we are presented with two heroes, Eowyn and Merry, who are differentiated by their gender and stature, respectively. Despite these differences, both characters demonstrate bravery and heroism in taking down their foes. Eowyn uses her expertise in battle and her deadly weapon, a sword, to defeat the Witch-King. On the other hand, Merry uses his wits and resourcefulness to aid in the defeat of the Witch-King’s steed, which leads to the powerful enemy’s downfall. Eowyn’s gender and Merry’s small stature do not diminish their heroic abilities, and they are both equally integral to the success of their mission. The differences between them actually add depth to their characters, as they bring to light the fact that heroism is not limited to a particular gender or physical type. The pre-battle exchanges between the heroes are also significant, as they reveal their personalities and motivations. Eowyn is motivated by a desire to prove her worth and protect her people, while Merry is driven by a sense of duty and loyalty to his friends. Overall, by comparing and contrasting the heroic feats of Eowyn and Merry, we can see that heroism is defined by actions, motivations, and personality traits rather than physical characteristics.

Solution 1:
In the modern epic of Lord of the Rings, the heroic characters of Eowyn and Merry differ from the traditional giant, masculine heroes of Beowulf and Gilgamesh. However, both Eowyn and Merry possess heroic attributes and contribute to the overall story. Eowyn’s heroic feats consist of using her sword in battle alongside her courage and strength to fight against the Witch-King, the Lord of the Nazgul. Her courage and defiance empower her to fight for her people and play a pivotal role in the outcome of the war. On the other hand, while Merry may not possess the traditional physical stature of a hero, his bravery and resourcefulness help him to play a vital role in the story. He manages to outwit the Witch-King through cunning and a well-timed blow. The fact that Merry lacks the traditional physical characteristics of a hero does not detract from his heroic traits. Both Eowyn and Merry use weapons to take down their foes and work in partnership with others, showing the significance of teamwork. Their physical differences and lack of boasting before the fight do not affect their ability to be heroic.

Solution 2:
The modern epic of Lord of the Rings presents two heroic characters, Eowyn and Merry, who differ from the traditional male heroes of Beowulf and Gilgamesh. Eowyn and Merry’s heroic feats illustrate the significance of courage rather than physical strength and power. Eowyn’s heroic act of taking down the Witch-King showed that being a hero is not limited to traditional masculine qualities. The importance of teamwork is also highlighted through Eowyn and Merry working in partnership with others. Despite these differences, both Eowyn and Merry are considered to be epic heroes as they use weapons and display bravery in fighting their foes. Whether the differences in gender and stature are relevant to their status as heroes is subjective and open to interpretation. However, what is clear is that they possess heroic traits that define them as epic heroes, and the modern epic of Lord of the Rings presents the audience with a new way of viewing heroism.

Suggested Resources/Books:
1. “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” by Joseph Campbell
2. “Beowulf” translated by Seamus Heaney
3. “Gilgamesh: A New English Version” by Stephen Mitchell
4. “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien

Similar Asked Questions:
1. How have heroic archetypes evolved over time?
2. What are some common traits seen in epic heroes across different cultures and time periods?
3. How has the concept of heroism been influenced by societal norms and values?
4. How does the portrayal of heroes in literature and media reflect changing attitudes towards heroism?
5. How do individual characteristics such as gender and stature affect someone’s ability to be a hero?

When comparing and contrasting Eowyn and Merry’s heroic feats and characteristics in “The Lord of the Rings,” it becomes evident that both of these characters possess unique strengths and challenges. While Eowyn is a skilled warrior and strategist who slays the Witch King of Angmar, Merry’s small stature and humble personality allow him to sneak past enemy lines and play a crucial role in the destruction of the Ring. Both characters utilize weapons in their battles, with Eowyn wielding a sword and Merry using a dagger and the power of his intellect. Interestingly, neither character engages in boasting or trash talk before their fights, instead relying on their abilities to speak for themselves. While Eowyn fights primarily on her own, Merry works closely with his friend Pippin to achieve their goals. Overall, the differences in gender and stature do not diminish the heroic status of these characters, as they each show great strength and courage in the face of adversity. Instead, their unique traits serve to highlight the diversity of heroism and the many forms it can take.

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